WrestleMania 36 Night 1. Analysis.
By Alejandro Casañas Romero
WrestleMania 36 in the Performance Center was an atypical Showcase of Immortals by COVID-19. The issue of whether or not he was responsible for the event must be left for another analysis.
The event that was going to be at Raymond James Stadium was canceled and Vince McMahon decided to do it at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
WM 36 will be remembered for being unique in all respects as well as being the only one to be two consecutive nights. The event was just plain and good considering the circumstances.
The event will be remembered for the Boneyard Match main event between Styles and the Undertaker. The fight was that mixture of cinema with fight that had been seen elsewhere as in the Final Deletion or in what Lucha Underground was doing.
The match polarized fans and experts alike. The fight was original and consistent in terms of history and how to use the location.
The rest of the show was on the PC with solid fights but that could have been better. Shayna vs Becky and Rollins vs Owens fit perfectly in that area. The best fight of the night was the impromptu ladder match (for Miz’s illness) between Morrison, Jey Uso and Kofi. Without being a vintage ladder match, it did its job.
The flimsy parts of the show were the fights of Corbin vs. Elias, Bryan vs. Zayn, and Strowman vs. Goldberg. The show lacked fans for obvious reasons, but the battles that were solid did not suffer from that aspect.
Undertaker vs AJ Styles: Boneyard Match
WWE took a risk in making this fight. The mix of cinema with wrestling is often hit or miss. The Hardy’s Final Deletion was innovative, but it had aspects without reason to be a fan service in many cases. Years ago WWE tried the House of Horrors match and it was a disaster.
This time everything had coherence according to the gimmick of the Taker and the storyline. And unlike House of Horrors there was therefore that connection with the public. From the entrances of each one everything had something special. AJ came in taunting as he got out of a car coffin and fooled everyone with the Taker song. The Dead Man entered as the Biker with his motorcycle and with a great Metallica theme (Now That We Are Dead).
The fight had no narration because we were before a kind of movie. Set in a garden and with an old house in the background, you had the perfect atmosphere. There were even throwbacks to fights like Goldust’s and Piper’s at WM when the Taker threw Styles over the hood of the car. Or moments like the Taker cutting his forearm by hitting a car window.
Everything was on stage. From a tractor to throw the earth to the loser’s grave. In essence it was a Buried Alive Match that we have seen before with the gimmick matches of the Taker. The druids who arrived with Styles attacked the Taker in addition to Gallows and Anderson. The music changes when the druids left the house were very appropriate.
At all times the voice of the Taker and his dialogues to AJ telling him if he was still an old man was essential. A great moment was when Styles hit the Taker with a headstone.
In the final part we had the best spots. AJ crossing the wall with the Taker. And a visual that will remain for posterity with Styles on the tractor and believing to bury the Taker. The Dead Man came out behind AJ at one point in history.
From there the Taker went by AJ on top of the tiles of the house as if he were the assassin chasing his prey as a classic slasher movie.
The Taker scared AJ with a wave of fire and then applied the Tombstone Piledriver to Anderson. Styles was then lowered from the tile to the ground with a Dantesque chokeslam. The Taker with a kick as if it were 300 put Styles in the grave to immediately bury him with the tractor.
The tombstone with AJ’s name and the date plus hand coming out of the ground was a great finishing touch. To close as it should, the Taker got on his motorcycle and a spectacular logo made with lasers adorning the house. In addition to fire, Metallica’s song was a perfect conjunction. The Taker left and with that the Boneyard Match ended.
Rating: 3 stars a quarter
Becky Lynch (c) vs Shayna Baszler: RAW Women’s Championship
The fight was not bad but it was very short barely lasting 9 minutes. Shayna was not ready and the best decision was to leave the scepter with The Man.
The fight was intense and felt like that from the initial bell tower. Shayna was the aggressor with powerhouse movements and Becky the one that reacted with roll up attempts. The champion had her first great moment with a brutal Uranage on the eyebrow of the ring.
Throughout the fight there were very smooth sequences of counters towards Lynch’s Armbar Disarmer and Shayna’s sleeper Kirifuda. Shayna wanted to apply an armbar also in the final part of the combat. Both applied their final keys to the strings.
The ending was very flat with Becky rolling backwards with Shayna maintaining the grip of the sleeper. An ending already seen when Kairi did it in NXT or Bret Hart to Piper in WM 8.
In the end they squandered the Raw women’s roster to make Shayna look unstoppable in the Elimination Chamber. Baszler wasn’t ready and they found out when they got to WM.
Rating: 3 stars
Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens
The fight was nothing of the other world with alternating domain of both. This was the 9th fight between them and in RAW they have had longer and better quality fights. What this had was more focus on the story.
KO in search of his WM moment before the Messiah with countless achievements in the Showcase of the Immortals. Owens had his powerhouse moments with his Cannonball and Swanton from the third string. Rollins being better at the counter with multiple stops outside the ring or cutting KO rallies with moves like the Sling Blade.
A great spot was Rollins’ Falcon Arrow to Owens over the eyebrow of the ring. KO was the best at closing sequences with a DDT. After Seth’s Buckle Bomb they made a good double down with Owens closing with lariat.
From there came what littered the fight. Rollins impacted Owens with the campaign to rob him of his WM moment in history (despite losing to DQ). The fight lost flow with this and then it was just a prolonged hold on Rollins attacking with chairs.
Owens returned Rollins’ courtesy by hitting him with the bell. Then came the best spot of the night. KO stepped onto the WM logo and fell on a sentinel over Rollins at the commentary table.
A KO stunner inside the ring ended the match. Without the DQ the fight would have been better presented.
Rating: 3 stars a quarter
John Morrison (c) vs Kofi Kingston vs Jey Uso
SD Tag Team Championship- Ladder Match
Due to Miz’s illness, the fight had to be a triple threat with a representative of each pair. Morrison had a tremendous performance. Jey Uso was more the support for spots and Kofi also had his aerial moments.
Morrison did a tremendous Starship Pain on Jey Uso and a ladder placed on the third rope. I also walk on the ropes to intercept Kofi in the corner and apply a colorful Spanish Fly.
The end was original with the 3 grabbing the belts but Morrison falling luckily with both. The champions held on to a correct decision.
Rating: 3 stars 3 rooms
Asuka and Kairi Sane (c) vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
Women’s Tag Team Championship
The opener was good but with the wrong result. It’s amazing the WWE way of wasting Asuka and Sane. The Kabuki Warriors came from a long and good reign, polishing filler scepters.
Asuka and Sane took the titles from Alexa and Cross months ago. The fight had good false ends with Kairi saving Asuka with her Insane Elbow. Alexa did the same with her Twisted Bliss to save Nikki.
In the end Alexa won by applying (for the 2nd wrong time) her Twisted Bliss iron. This was the perfect time for Bliss’ heel turn and the rivalry with Cross was about to begin.
Rating: 3 stars
Goldberg (c) vs Braun Strowman
WWE Universal Championship
With the departure of Roman Reigns, WWE opted for Strowman. Long ago it would have been a good option but Strowman has lowered his bonds a lot.
The fight was short as expected and more being Goldberg. Strowman endured three spear and after 4 running power slam he won his first world championship. Braun aims to be a transition champion.
Rating: 1 star
Sami Zayn (c) vs Daniel Bryan
Instead of giving each other 20 minutes of fighting, we had an SD fight. Sami’s heel character is a coward and is understood a bit by that the plot of the combat.
Either way it was a waste of time for two tremendous fighters like Zayn and Bryan. Bryan dominated most of the fight and Sami with the help of Nakamura and Cesaro was able to win. The distraction caused Bryan to lose as he fell from third to the boot of a poorly executed Helluva Kick.
Rating: 1 star
Baron Corbin vs Elias
The fight was a House show between two insipid fighters and that even with shoehorn they did not quite curdle at all.
Elias gave Corbin an early guitar kick taking revenge for the King’s attack on SD. Corbin wanted to win with a rollup supported by the ropes. Elias won by grabbing trout. The worst thing is that this rivalry will continue.
Rating: 1 star
Show rating: 7 out of 10.
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