WWE
WRESTLEMANIA XL – SUNDAY
APRIL 7, 2024
LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD
PHILADELPHIA, PA

Watch: Peacock

MEET YOUR REVIEWER:

Suit Williams: Last night’s show sucked, and tonight’s card looks like a six-pack of ass. But Suit is pot committed to this WWE Correspondent bit, so he may as well see this through. You can read Suit’s long-form previews and reviews of wrestling from around the world here at Voices of Wrestling. You can also find his weekly reviews of AEW Collision over at F4WOnline. Follow Suit on all social media platforms @SuitWilliams

Sean Sedor: Hey everyone! Sean is back again after last night’s….interesting show. He just finished watching the NASCAR race at Martinsville, and scarfed down some PB&J right before the show kicked off. As always, you can find Sean on Twitter @SASedor2994. If you’re interested in some of Sean’s other escapades, you can watch him play the Formula 1 games on YouTube (just search his name and you’ll find the channel), and you can also go to the Be The Booker forums if you’d like to check out Sean’s EWR Diary, where he plays as WCW (started in 1998, currently in September of 2002). He’s gearing up for the 2002 Crockett Cup Tournament in that diary, so look out for those brackets soon!

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
DREW MCINTYRE def. SETH ROLLINS (C) 

Suit: Rollins came out as part of the least seasoned Second Line you’ll ever see. They basically blitzed each other for 15 minutes, either hitting or reversing finishers from the opening bell. Three Claymores, three curb stomps, two Pedigrees, and a Future Shock DDT were all kicked out of, all set to the soundtrack of CM Punk burying these guys and putting himself over. Congrats on the comeback by the way, calling the WrestleMania curtain jerker is truly a dream come true.

The fourth Claymore would do it for McIntyre, as Michael Cole proclaimed this to be the first time McIntyre had ever won a World Title in front of people. Heavy shot to TNA there. I was expecting Punk to cost McIntyre the title, but this closes McIntyre’s character arc and gives Punk something to chase on his comeback. A fine match, and a good idea to come out of the curtain with some juice. ***1/4

Sean: After an unexpected appearance by Corporate Officer #3, we get to our opening contest. Drew McIntyre had his usual big entrance with the bagpipe band, while Seth Rollins came out with a large mummers string band (very appropriate given that they’re in Philadelphia, I suppose). The bell rang and McIntyre hit a Claymore Kick immediately for a close nearfall as the commentary explains how Rollins is coming in injured after last night’s main event. After being tossed around early, Rollins finally finds an opening and hits a pedigree on the floor.

Back in the ring, and after some more back-and-forth, Rollins avoided another Claymore Kick and followed up with a powerbomb, a pedigree, and a stomp for another nearfall. McIntyre hit his Future Shock DDT and another Claymore, but Rollins kicked out again. Rollins managed to avoid getting put through the announce desk by McIntyre, and connected with the stomp for a second time. However, when they got back in the ring, McIntyre hit two Claymore Kicks and that was it. This was a pretty good match, though not quite as strong as the opener from last night (at least in my view). It was a ton of fun to watch the two just trade their finishers with each other. It was sort of worked like a Brock Lesnar match, but without the intensity of a match where Brock Lesnar is involved (if that makes sense). McIntyre is the new World Heavyweight Champion, but as we would see momentarily, that reign would note last. ***1/2 

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
DAMIAN PRIEST def. DREW MCINTYRE (c) 

Suit: Never mind. Punk cost McIntyre the title after he won it. McIntyre got in Punk’s face at the desk and talked shit, leading to Punk yanking him off the table and hitting him with his arm brace. Priest then came out and cashed in, winning the belt and giving Punk his comeuppance on McIntyre. Priest cashing in on a heel is a little weird, but it wasn’t about Priest here. It was about Punk getting what may be his only shot to get payback on McIntyre, as McIntyre’s contract is up sometime soon. Meanwhile, the World Title is now on Damien Priest and the Judgment Day as they set up to be the next Bloodline-type unit in the company. N/R

Sean: So how we got here is that Drew McIntyre started taunting CM Punk after the match, and it was….weirdly errotic. Punk then snapped, attacking McIntyre with his arm brace. Damian Priest then ran out, smashed McIntyre with his Money In The Bank briefcase, cashed in, and won the title in quick fashion. Punishment Martinez is a World Champion in WWE. Imagine telling that to someone watching the ROH product back in 2017. I was going to say in my review of Rollins vs. McIntyre that I wonder if McIntyre winning the World Heavyweight Title means he’s signed a new deal. Well, this quick title change throws that out the window….for now. Curious to see how Priest does as World Champion, but in general, it’s always cool seeing ROH alumni succeed elsewhere. N/R

PHILADELPHIA STREET FIGHT – SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE: BUBBA RAY DUDLEY
BOBBY LASHLEY & THE STREET PROFITS (W/ B-FAB) def. THE FINAL TESTAMENT (KARRION KROSS & THE AUTHORS OF PAIN) (W/ PAUL ELLERING & SCARLETT)

Suit: Bully Ray, looking as portly as ever, is the referee. Bully Ray and Karrion Kross on my screen at the same time feels like a punishment specifically towards me. At least Snoop Dogg is here as a backup in case one of these guys blows a quad. Has anyone heard from Shane McMahon since last year, or did they take him out like an old horse in Los Angeles? Paul Ellering would know something about old horses.

Anyway, this was any hardcore match you’ll see on Raw. Ford did a cool dive as I continue to complain about him never getting any kind of legitimate push in this company. B-Fab looked greener than the jazz cigarettes Snoop kept mentioning on the call as she and Scarlett gingerly ran through spots. Bubba got his shit in, calling for the tables as an unbiased media member. And the big spot got messed up as a table broke under Kross’s weight before Ford could hit his big splash. This wasn’t as bad as it writes down because it wasn’t any longer than it needed to be. It was a slightly worse than average plunder match. *1/2

Sean: Not only is Bubba Ray Dudley the special guest referee, but Snoop Dog is the special guest commentator (I cannot believe I just typed that sentence). The match gets going and The Final Testament takes control early. They destroy Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits with kendo sticks to absolute crickets. B-Fab broke up a pin attempt, and that was the turning point that allowed Lashey and The Street Profits to finally get in some offense. After Montez Ford hit a big dive to the outside, Kross and Lashley went at it for a bit until Kross got into it with Bubba, who put on his classic glasses. The babyfaces then did a Dudley spot before going to get more tables (B-Fab and Scarlett went through a table somewhere in all this). The one table they got instantly collapsed under the weight of Kross, and they had to get another table so Montez could hit his splash for the pin. This match fucking sucked, plain and simple. The crowd was dead for most of it, and absolutely no part of it was interesting (aside from Snoop Dog’s commentary). A steaming pile of dog shit is what this match was. Montez Ford hitting an insane dive over the post to the floor is the only thing preventing me from giving this a DUD. What a bad match. 1/2*




LA KNIGHT def. AJ STYLES

Suit: It’s Duffman vs. Bonesaw McGraw from Spider-Man. I’m stunned that Styles was able to move so well given the 20 pounds of muscle he seemed to have put on in the last few months. This was just a rock solid singles match. I had been sounding the Washed alarm on Styles, and I’m not backing off of it, but he was able to pick his spot and have a good match here. Knight gets a highlight win with the BFT. ***1/2

Sean: During LA Knight’s entrance, he gave the keys from his Slim Jim car to a contest winner, while the commentators introduced us to the “Slim Jim Long Boi Gang”. Meanwhile, AJ Styles ran down the ramp (while his awful new theme song was playing) and went right after Knight to get this one started. Hey, they showed some intensity to start this one off, so I’ll give them credit there. Looking at this current version of AJ Styles and his new physique, it’s so obvious that he saw Randy Orton return and said “I’ll have what he’s having”. These two kept trading moves back-and-forth and honestly, it was pretty entertaining to watch. After getting hit with a top rope German Suplex, Styles started to target one of Knight’s legs. Knight fought back, but then got suplexed on the exposed floor. Once they got back in the ring, they traded some more offense before Styles went to go for the Phenomenal Forearm. Knight blocked it, and hit the BFT to score the win. I actually really enjoyed this match. They worked it like an actual grudge match, and the wrestling from start to finish was pretty good! It was by no means an excellent bout, but for its spot on the card, it worked very well. No complaints from me. ***1/2

WWE UNITED STATES TITLE TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
LOGAN PAUL (C) DEF. RANDY ORTON, KEVIN OWENS

Suit: This was fine, if a few minutes too long. You can picture it in your mind. The babyfaces team up on the heel, then turn on each other. Everybody fights and the heel steals the finish. I could produce these matches with how well I know this company’s tropes. Some Twitch streamer helped Paul out of the way of a punt kick, I think it was Ninja. Anyway, Orton RKO’ed him on the announce table. Orton hit an RKO on Owens, but Paul dumped him out of the ring and hit a frog splash for the win. ***

Sean: Logan Paul came out on a special Prime truck. Kevin Owens drove out on a golf cart, and then backed all the way up the ramp to pick up Randy Orton, who held on for dear life as Owens sped down the ramp. I’m going to be completely honest here….that got a good chuckle from me.

The match kicked off pretty how you would’ve guessed, as Orton and Owens double-team Paul on the floor and in the ring. Then, following the traditional WWE Triple Threat Match formula, Orton and Owens eventually came to blows after realizing that only one of them can win the match. From there, all three men got chances to go on the offense as they all came close to winning the match. At one point, Orton hit the RKO on Owens, but Owens kicked out (I feel like they didn’t really make a big deal out of Owens kicking out of that, which is….weird). Orton then got taken out with a brass knuckles shot from Paul, and somehow that only got a two count. He pulled Orton up, but then got hit with a RKO for his troubles. Just when Orton was about to hit the Punt Kick, the Prime Mascot pulled Paul out, and was revealed to be….some streamer named IShowSpeed. Orton promptly kicked his ass and RKO’d him on the announce desk. A flurry of finishers followed (including Orton turning a pop-up powerbomb into an RKO) that ended with Paul stealing the victory.

While they did follow all of the usual WWE Triple Threat Match tropes, I found this to be a fun match for the most part. It was on it’s was to being on par with Rollins vs. McIntyre and Knight vs. Styles, but the stuff with IShowSpeed did take it down a peg. Are we supposed to know who this guy is? Anyway, I just wish that part with the dorky streamer wasn’t in here. Maybe that didn’t hurt the match as much for you as it did for me. Even with that nonsense, it was still a relatively good match. ***1/4

WWE WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH
BAYLEY def. IYO SKY (C)

Suit: This was another solid singles match. Bayley had some type of ancient Egyptian themed entrance, and I was waiting for the Bangles to start playing. Alas, we got whatever Def Rebel shit out. Iyo worked over the leg Bayley broke years ago, with Bayley hitting big shots to fight her off. Bayley was over, the work was good, and the crowd got what they wanted with Bayley winning. Did I know that Bayley’s finisher was called the “Rose Plant”? No. Could I have told you what the Rose Plant even looked like before tonight? Not a chance. I thought she was still scoring wins with the Bayley-To-Belly. But she won with the Rose Plant to win the title. ***

Sean: After the initial opening exchanges, Bayley managed to connect with a running dive to the floor. However, Iyo Sky responded almost immediately by targeting Bayley’s previously injured knee. After getting her leg worked over for a bit, Bayley responded with a Bayley To Belly on the floor, and started going back on the offensive. Iyo managed to cut Bayley and hit a moonsault on the floor followed by a pair of German Suplexes. After the two continued to trade moves back and forth, Iyo managed to nail a series of moonsaults, but Bayley managed to survive. Iyo avoided one Rose Plant, but wasn’t able to avoid a second one a short time later. Bayley is the new WWE Women’s Champion. This was a pretty good match for sure, though (much like all of the other matches on this show) was nowhere close to being great. I actually do appreciate that this was just….a straight wrestling match with no nonsense whatsoever. Bayley got the win as expected, and yeah….not much else to say beyond that. If I had one critique, I suppose it would be that the Rose Plant isn’t exactly the strongest finisher in the world. Other than that, very solid stuff from these two. ***1/2 




WWE TITLE / WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE BLOODLINE RULES MATCH
CODY RHODES def. ROMAN REIGNS (W/PAUL HEYMAN) (C)

Suit: Eh, he still should’ve won last year.

This was a Sports Entertainment Spectacular. What does that mean? Well, a lot of stuff happened. They wrestled this straight-up for a while, which while it was good, I couldn’t really get into because I knew the interference was coming. 

Then the interference came on both sides. NO YEET interfered, YEET speared him off a stage. Solo Sikoa interfered, John Cena put him through the announce table. The Rock showed up, and Seth Rollins…got speared by Roman Reigns like the biggest fucking geek on the planet. I almost woke the people in my house up laughing at him. Then, the Undertaker showed up to chokeslam the Rock. Why? I don’t know! But the DONG hit, and everybody popped! Then, Cody finally won with the three Cross Rhodes. He celebrated with everyone, including calling Bruce Pritchard and Triple H out to give them hugs. That may not age very well due to, um, reasons, but editing isn’t that hard these days.

Well, I was certainly sports entertained. This is the kind of match only WWE can do, and they did it well enough to serve their audience and get a big pop for Cody. But this isn’t an easy match to rate. The crowd popped hard for Cody and it was the end of a super long story, but personally, I wasn’t super invested in the nearfalls or the run-ins. In fact, the run-ins were a bit of a crutch, having these established top names show up to buoy the crowd reactions. But I can’t deny that it worked on the night and helped to make this a memorable Mania main event.

So what’s my dopey star rating for the match? I dunno, ***1/2

Sean: A crazy looking skull mask and a wild Brandi Rhodes made appearances during Cody’s big entrance. Roman had a local choir and orchestra from Philadelphia playing/singing his entrance theme (though it didn’t exactly look like they were really playing those instruments).

So here we are. The rematch from last year’s WrestleMania. Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes for all the marbles, as they say. This match is in a weird position as, given the stipulation, you really can’t buy any potential finishes until the rest of The Bloodline (including The Rock) get involved. The initial reaction to their staredown at the start was fine….albeit a little lackluster given how big this match is. Weapons were introduced pretty quickly, as Roman smacked Cody with a kendo stick after putting a table that Cody had brought out back under the ring. They brawled briefly into the crowd where Cody managed to give Roman a suplex on a conveniently positioned platform. After some more back-and-forth, Roman managed to hit Cody with a Cross Rhodes for a close nearfall. 

After going back out to the floor, Roman powerbombs Cody through the announcer’s desk, and follows up with a Superman Punch in the ring for another nearfall. Cody then gets some big offense of his own in the form of a Cody Cutter and a Spear before Jimmy Uso runs out and superkicks Cody. Jey Uso then comes out, and the two brawl up the ramp until Jey spears Jimmy off the stage. A spear from Roman gets another big nearfall.  A spear through the barricade? Take a shot! Back in the ring, we’re treated to a replay of last year as Solo hits Cody with the spike when Cody was going through his multiple Cross Rhodes sequence. Roman and Solo doubleteam Cody, but then a WILD JOHN CENA APPEARS and takes out solo. That’s the signal for The Rock to come out, and now we get to the part of the match that actually matters.

John Cena and The Rock have a staredown before Rock hits him with a Rock Bottom. Then suddenly, The Shield’s music hits, and as Rock is looking for Seth Rollins, Roman comes back in and takes Seth out like an absolute geek (Seth is the king of the geeks at this rate). After that, The Undertaker’s gong goes off, and The Deadman appears and chokeslams The Rock to send him packing. With everyone dispatched, Cody hits Roman with more Cross Rhodes, and FINALLY…..finishes the story (thank goodness we don’t have to say that again).

As I suspected, nothing in this match really mattered until all of the interference started. The match was perfectly solid until that point. Then we had everybody running in, and for the most part, all of that at least made sense (Jey going after Jimmy, Cena going after Solo, Rock and Cena reigning their past issues). The only weird one was Undertaker. He got a big reaction for sure, but part of me feels that Steve Austin would’ve been a better fit in that spot (a minor critique), especially given his more storied history with The Rock. As a whole, I honestly don’t know how to rate this match. For the modern WWE fan, they probably feel that this was the perfect main event. It fit right in with the sensibilities of the current WWE fanbase. I would describe this as quintessential sports entertainment. Was it the kind of match that appealed to what I like and what I want out of my pro-wrestling? Not really. I certainly wasn’t as invested in this story the same way that WWE fans were, and I still believe Cody should’ve beaten Roman last year (this match doesn’t change my view on that). It was definitely fun for what it was (and the crowd pop for the title change was ENORMOUS), but I have a feeling that people are going to vastly overrate this match. In terms of star ratings, I think I’d go notebook if Steve Austin had been in Undertaker’s spot for the reasons I mentioned above. Thus, it falls just shy of notebook territory. ***3/4