WrestleMania 36 Night 2
April 5, 2020
WWE Performance Center
Meet our reviewers:
Kelly Harrass: Ripping himself away from Animal Crossing, Kelly returns to review night 2 of WrestleMania 36. After last night’s shockingly okay show, Kelly is coming into this with a bit of optimism. Please don’t let him down. Follow Kelly on Twitter at @comicgeekelly.
Garrett Kidney: Garrett isn’t telling you which night of WrestleMania he is on the review for. You’re just going to have to work it out for yourself. Follow Garrett on Twitter @garrettkidney!
Tyler Forness: Tyler is doing his first WWE review for Voices of Wrestling. After watching last night’s show this morning, Tyler is with Kelly in having a shred of optimism. Follow Tyler on Twitter @CCSTheRealForno
NXT Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (c)
Kelly Harrass: As far as openers go, this is the best I can remember from WWE in quite a while. Charlotte and Rhea made the best of an empty arena situation, working a stiff, nasty match. They made sure to lay in the hits so they echoed through the Performance Center. While other matches on night one felt exposed by the empty arena, these two worked towards it and made it work for them. They lost me a bit in the middle of the match, but that could also be because I was distracted by some squirrels that were fighting outside my house. For the most part the limbwork by Charlotte and the selling by Rhea were both fairly consistent throughout. I question giving Charlotte the belt here. I can see that it would make sense to put a star on NXT, but it also feels like Rhea lost a bit by not beating Charlotte here. It definitely made Rhea look minor league when Charlotte kicked out of the Riptide incredibly early into the match. Charlotte proved that Rhea was the big fish in the small pond. I don’t know if that’s what they were going for, but if it was, they succeeded. Hopefully Rhea gets her revenge when they’re put back in front of a crowd. ***¾
Garrett Kidney: Something happened when Rhea Ripley won the NXT Women’s Championship. She went from this cool badass to every generic happy to be here, fighting for the brand, battling against all odds bland babyface ever. The WWE babyface champion archetype. So it was disappointing to see the structure of this match settle into the underdog Ripley battling for her life against the dominant Charlotte. This was far more ambitious than anything on Night One but they seemed to lose the thread of what they were doing. Charlotte relentlessly going after Ridley’s knee was lost in the more traditional closing stretch before Charlotte won with the Figure 8. They went big but they had to pick a lane, trim the fluff and commit to the ideas of the match.. ***1/4
Tyler Forness: I have not had a lot of exposure to Rhea Ripley, The little I have of her, as Garrett mentioned above, is that she was a cool badass. Coming out in this match, Rhea looked like she was wearing a risque Power Rangers Halloween costume. The ring gear from Rhea kind of took me out of it. A few minutes into the match, Ripley hit the Riptide and Flair kicked out. At that point, I already knew what the result was going to be. Until the finish, it was excellent. The story of the match was built around Charlotte going after Ripley’s leg to setup the Figure 8. Throughout, Flair kept going after it and Ripley did a nice job fighting from underneath. Once Charlotte locked into the Figure 4, it felt like Ripley had no chance to break out. If this match was in front of a crowd, it would have ruled, but overall they did a great job in front of the empty arena, even though they were annoyingly loud at times to compensate. Beating Ripley here feels odd, but Vince must believe that Charlotte can be a ratings mover for NXT on Wednesdays. Best WWE opening match I’ve seen in a long time ****1/4
Aleister Black def. Bobby Lashley
Kelly Harrass: Why is this match even on the card? If I remember correctly on the preshow they said it was to gain momentum. That’s the definition of a Raw match. This didn’t belong on WrestleMania. Fine enough match, but it was a time filler and nothing more. **¼
Garrett Kidney: I completely forgot about all the Lana/Lashley being married nonsense until this match. Ugh. That was a perfectly acceptable midcard TV match and nothing more. **1/2
Tyler Forness: Why are these two in a match together? I honestly have no idea. This was fine I guess, but Kelly is right in that this is the definition of a Raw match. Black winning on a counter to the spear with a black mass is super predictable. Lana, however, was a smokeshow. **1/4
Otis def. Dolph Ziggler
Kelly Harrass: This was the heartwarming story that everyone wanted. I guess. Okay, not really. In Kelly’s WrestleMania, this would have been a double juice brawl for the ages. But that’s just me. It happened and, while being a little longer than I was expecting, this was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be. Though it did seem weird that we didn’t get the reveal of whoever the hacker was. Oh well, it’s not like it matters. **
Garrett Kidney: Is it weird that this is the match I feel most sorry for without an audience? These poor guys were going to live and die on that crowd response. This is Dolph Ziggler’s first WrestleMania singles match, which sort of perfectly captures his career. This was very long and bad. It should have been 90 seconds long before Mandy came out. *
Tyler Forness: Even though he’s just a comedy big guy, I like Otis. He’s a decent worker with a connection to the crowd that does a good job of emoting. He could be a pretty good heel down the line if he can ever escape Vince’s vision. On the other side, I wonder if this is what Dolph Ziggler expected when he resigned a couple years ago. The match, however, is very emotional for Otis and he shows it early, but it slowly turns from a brawl to a classic wrestling match which was disappointing. From the onset, this felt like a dollar store version of Chris Jericho/Christian from Wrestlemania 20 and it was. The only difference was the good guy got the girl. Way too long and definitely shout not have been a wrestling match. ** match, ****1/2 moment for Otis
Last Man Standing
Edge def. Randy Orton
Kelly Harrass: For as much as I liked the build, I’m incredibly disappointed with how this match turned out. I already normally hate WWE Last Man Standing matches, but this one was particularly terrible. Saying that this was like watching paint dry is mean to drying paint. This was more like watching an already painted wall fade in color over the course of several decades. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a match this plodding before. We all sat through 37 minutes of Edge and Orton bouncing each other around the WWE Performance Center and we all certainly know how to count to 9 now. I feel bad for these guys. They clearly put a ton of work into the match and beat the hell out of each other in the process. How did this not get edited down? How did someone watch this and think that they could shave 10 or 15 minutes off of the runtime? That’s the benefit of shooting a match in this environment. Why not take advantage of that?! I’m not mad, well, yeah, I am mad, but I’m even more disappointed. Edge and Orton should have known better than to go for so long, but more than anything, someone should have stepped in and edited it down. This is a greater failing than two guys putting on a bad match. This is an indictment of the entire WWE content machine for not being able to acknowledge when something is bad and then putting in the work to fix it. This was a missed opportunity in almost every way. *
Garrett Kidney: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
1. 2. 3. 4.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Of the thirty-plus minute run-time, most of it was that. The referee counting. Over and over. Rarely after big spots either. Basically any time either of these guys did anything, they stopped for a referee count. Every time they’d smash the other into steps or throw each other into a wall, another count would begin and the match would stop. It was unbearable. The Count from Sesame Street would have found it excessive. They had a handful of cool set pieces but it was so bloated. If ever a match on a taped show needed an editor it was this. They beat the heck out of each other but it was the very definition of a war of attrition. Every time they came close to building momentum, they stopped for another referee count. There were the bones of a really good match in there if they stuck to the key set pieces and moved swiftly between them. As it was though, it became a long painful slog. **3/4
Tyler Forness: To the surprise of nobody, Randy Orton comes out of nowhere to hit an RKO on Edge before the match started like the deceitful snake he is. Then the bell rang and this match went to absolute shit. Orton got the upper hand early and took it to a level that I cannot believe got approved by Vince. With the walk and brawl that these two had, the first stop was the weight room. After the Chris Benoit Dark Side Of The Ring dropped last week, how in the hell do you let Randy Orton try to choke out Edge with FUCKING GYM EQUIPMENT?! Better get your recordings of that spot now because it’s going to be edited out real fast. After that atrocious spot, they brawled all over the Performance Center with the only good spot was Edge holding onto the steel cage partition that was above the conference room and turned it into an elbow drop. WWE should be ashamed of themselves. They were handed the returns of both Daniel Bryan and Edge on a silver platter and blew them both horribly. This match is the epitome of why I stopped watching WWE regularly. This company is obviously still no longer about the viewer but the one-man audience in Vince McMahon. This gets a gentleman’s ** just because they worked hard.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) © def. Austin Theory and Angel Garza
Kelly Harrass: In good news, they actually caught Montez Ford on his dive. Who could possibly care about this? Just another midcard Raw match that didn’t belong on Mania, especially after they had to sub Austin Theory into it. **
Garrett Kidney: Sure. **1/2
Tyler Forness: Why was this match on Wrestlemania? Another Raw match shoehorned onto the show they said was “too big” for one night. If Vince somehow builds them right, Angel Garza gave me Eddie Guererro vibes and Montez Ford has star written all over him. The best part of this match was the end and the emergence of Bianca Belair, who came out of this looking like a total badass. **1/4
Fatal 5-Way Elimination match for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bayley © def. Lacey Evans, Naomi, Sasha Banks, and Tamina
Kelly Harrass: For as much as night one was a quick breeze of a show, night two has certainly been a slog. While this was appropriately long for what kind of match it was, the placement on the card between the Edge/Orton death march and the home stretch of the show made this feel way longer than it really was. Maybe someday they’ll actually do something interesting with Bayley and Banks, but today was not that day. **¼
Garrett Kidney: There was a really great little Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Naomi handicap match hidden in the middle of this where Naomi looked great, brought some real energy and showed tonnes of fire. Otherwise, it was all kinda meh. Bayley and Sasha still feel stuck in a two-year holding pattern building to a program between the two that they refuse to actually pull the trigger on. It’s bizarre. **1/2
Tyler Forness: In this match, I learned 4 things.
- WWE ruined the great theme songs of Bayley and Sasha Banks
- Naomi still rules
- Tamika is somehow still employed
- Lacey Evans looks a lot closer to a major league pro wrestler than she did back in May.
This is another thing that WWE ruined. They had Sasha and Bayley on a silver platter for Wrestlemania and they didn’t because they are dumb. Why am I wasting my words on this stupid company? Then Sasha helps Bayley retain after she gets screwed over? This fucking company SUCKS. **
Firefly Fun House match
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt def. John Cena
Kelly Harrass: This might have actually been Bray Wyatt’s best match. Mostly because he didn’t actually have to wrestle. The Fiend has been pretty terrible, but I have enjoyed the oddness of the Firefly Fun House segments. That’s all this was. It was weird and it looked like both Bray and Cena had a lot of fun doing it. Bray’s greatest failing is that he isn’t anywhere near as good as he thinks he is. I was really hoping that Cena would win here and put an end to this gimmick once and for all, but sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe Bray just shouldn’t wrestle anymore. Make your little short films. Whatever you do, just don’t get in the ring. I’m not rating this, it wasn’t a match.
Garrett Kidney: Another in a long string of hollow, empty Bray Wyatt bullshit disguised as high art. Big fan of John Cena “shooting” on Bray’s wacky bullshit and then this is their match. They couldn’t even keep the internal narrative straight – acknowledging Cena nearly got fired but then presenting him as the untouchable golden boy. Nostalgia in place of actual meaningful substance or character development. Bray Wyatt retire bitch.
Tyler Forness: Once we saw the Boneyard Match from last night, this is exactly how I expected the Firefly Funhouse to be: an over the top cinematic experience that wasn’t even a wrestling match. The symbolism was well done with the exception of the nWo bit which was dumb. BISCHOFF WASN’T IN THE WOLFPAC The fact that this was the best Bray Wyatt match ever is a sign that he is awful in the ring and needs to stop wrestling.
On the flip side, John Cena coming in and shooting on the next generation resonated hard with me and for him to job like that to THE FIEND is another reason why this company FUCKING SUCKS! You have great young wrestlers on the roster yet THE FIEND keeps getting pushes time after time, failure after failure. Invest in the future and don’t give shitty wrestlers like THE FIEND valuable screen time.
Drew McIntyre def. Brock Lesnar (c)
Kelly Harrass: I can’t get into Brock matches like this. The WWE big match main event style has slowly become two guys just repeatedly hitting finishers on each other. If this is the style that works, why doesn’t everybody wrestle like this? Only throw finishers if those are the moves that work. There’s no psychology to it that makes sense with any other matches around it. Sure, something like this is exciting every once and a while, but this is what we’ve come to expect from WWE big matches. It’s boring, it’s predictable, it’s bad. Drew’s big moment is disappointing for a number of reasons, but regardless of that, I’m glad he got it. **½
Garrett Kidney: They did literally the exact same match as Goldberg vs. Braun yesterday. One guy hits his finish a bunch – doesn’t win. The other guy hits his finish a bunch – does win. That sucks. It sucks even more that Drew’s crowning moment comes after that kind of match in these circumstances. The Chosen One is the finally the chosen one but fate has screwed him over. I hope whenever we can resume some semblance of normality, Drew can get things back on track. Honestly there may have been a strong case for Brock to retain until that could happen. But alas, it is what it is. A shame. **
Tyler Forness: This was every Brock match of the last few years. Opponent gets a finisher in, Brock hits multiple German Suplexes and F-5’s and the opponent kicks out. The opponent hits multiple finishers and wins. For a dominant beast, Brock sure has his finisher kicked out of a lot. With how much talent those two men have, why couldn’t we get something a little bit different or more than 8 moves? I feel for McIntyre though. His first ever world title win was in front of two announcers and a production crew. That moment deserved to be in front of 80,000. Moving forward, I hope this doesn’t derail Drew’s title reign before it gets started. ***