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Wrestlemania 36: Night 2 Review

After Andrew was good enough to take Wrestlemania 36 duties off my hands yesterday, it’s now my turn to review Night 2.

I’ve got to be honest here, I wasn’t really looking forward to it.

Night 1 was pretty meh at best, though the Taker/AJ Boneyard adventure was really enjoyable, so I went into this with a sense of trepidation.

Would it be another Super Blood Money or would it pull off the impossible and make me a WWE believer all over again?

There’s only one way to find out, it’s time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for the Wrestlemania 36: Night 2 Review.

NXT Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley

NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley

Okay, can someone please tell me, is it Charlotte Flair or just Charlotte these days?

I know this might not seem that important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s been bugging me how the company can’t seem to make its mind up on what moniker to place on The Queen and considering that she’s been on the main roster for five years now, you’d have thought that they’d have sorted it out by now.

But what’s in a name when you can put on a brilliant match and here, alongside a fantastic Rhea Ripley, that’s just what happened.

This was a fight, pure and simple, and had me questioning whether or not the two like each other in real life as they both seemed hell-bent on causing as much physical damage to the other as humanly possible.

It was a Slobberknocker, to quote JR, and even though I’m not completely convinced that Ripely should’ve dropped the belt here, I’m not as annoyed by it as a vast majority of the internet.

The reason that Charlotte gets so many PPV moments is simply that she’s the best wrestler in the Women’s Division and even in victory she helped put Rhea over in a massive way.

This is a feud that is far from finished and I expect Ripely’s redemption to come sooner rather than later.

Winner And New NXT Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair

 

Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley

Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley

This was The Battle Of Two Wrestlers I Really Didn’t Give A S*it About, but, fortunately, it was short and sweet so it didn’t outstay its welcome.

It was always going to be difficult for whoever had to follow the curtain-raiser that Flair and Ripley had just put on and that was the case here. It wasn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t the kind of match that will change the wrestling landscape.

The one bonus I got from all this was having to watch it with the sound turned down as too not wake my household, which meant I was spared Lana squawking like a demented parrot through-out.

And considering that Big Bob lost when a spear got interrupted by a Black Mass, I’m glad for that small mercy.

Winner: Aleister Black 

Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler

Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler

Along with the awful burial of Bray Wyatt at Super Blood Money, this whole story was a major contributing factor to me no longer reviewing either RAW or SmackDown for Sports Obsessive.

I hate this sort of crap.

The only reason it exists is that Vince McMahon finds the idea of a heavyset guy dating someone who looks like Mandy Rose the funniest thing in the world and even though Otis would get his revenge on Ziggler and Sonya Deville, thanks to a massive assist by Rose, this has been a game-breaker for me and I despise it with every last fiber of my being.

Winner: Otis

Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton

Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton

There is so much to pick through here that I’m not sure where to start.

First off, I loved this. This entire feud has been pure gold from the get-go and this was the perfect way to finish it off, with both Edge and Orton putting themselves through the kind of abuse that hasn’t been seen inside the WWE since the Hardcore days.

Which means this was also very difficult to watch.

If you’ve seen the exceptional 24 documentary on the WWE Network, you might remember that Edge said he wouldn’t be going through any flaming tables with thumbtacks stuck in him. Instead, what we got was both men throwing themselves off of every available surface, from every available height, and really really making me fear for their well being on more than one occasion.

Knowing what Edge went through to get back to where he is, if he’d had this match with anyone other than Randy Orton, it could’ve ended his career for a second time.

This turned out to be the second-longest match in WrestleMania history, only being pipped to top spot by the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels Iron Man affair, but it didn’t feel like it as both men put in a battle that went all over the Performance Cente and the time just flew by.

It was a master class in storytelling that would end with Edge hitting a Conchairto on an already unconscious Orton and in the history of classic matches that the Rated R Superstar has been involved in, this is up there with his best.

Winner: Edge

RAW Tag Team Titles Match: Austin Theory and Angel Garza vs. The Street Profits

RAW Tag Team Titles Match: Austin Theory and Angel Garza vs. The Street Profits

This was, surprisingly, really good.

I didn’t expect anything from the RAW Tag Team Titles Match between Austin Theory, Angel Garza, and The Street Profits but they delivered a fast-paced, high flying affair that didn’t fall flat on its face, considering what it was attempting to follow.

It was the right decision to keep the belts on The Street Profits as well, as they can carry a very weak RAW Tag-Team Division on their backs for the foreseeable future, but this feud is far from over, especially after Bianca Belair rushed the ring and lay a beating on Zelina Vega when she decided to be a bad loser after the bell.

Winners And Still RAW Tag-Team Champions: The Street Profits

Fatal 5 Way Elimination Match for the SmackDown Women’s Title: Sasha Banks vs. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina Snuka vs. Bayley

Fatal 5 Way Elimination Match for the SmackDown Women’s Title: Sasha Banks vs. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina Snuka vs. Bayley

This was another serviceable outing that did have one major problem.

The clever money here was on Sasha and Bayley being the final two so we could have the face-off between the best friends that the WWE has been hinting at for the past few weeks, but instead, we had Lacey Evans eliminate The Boss after The former Hugger had accidentally cost her buddy not once but twice in the space of a few minutes.

This meant the Southern Belle and Bayley faced off for the title which the latter would retain after Banks returned to the ring and hit a Backstabber, helping her pick up the 1-2-3.

This just doesn’t make any sense to me.

If there was a time to pull the trigger on this happening, it was here at WrestleMania, and even though it would’ve probably led to a Banks face turn I feel as if the company has missed the moment, meaning when it does eventually become reality, it’s going to feel wrong.

Winner And Still SmackDown Women’s Champion: Bayley

Firefly Fun House Match: John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

Firefly Fun House Match: John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

In my many years of watching pro wrestling, I’ve seen a lot.

I’ve seen a man get a washing machine drop kicked to his head, I’ve seen Hardcore matches that were basically assault, and I’ve even seen a giant panda bear fly across the ring like a luchador, but I have never, ever seen anything like the Firefly Fun House Match that John Cena and Bray Wyatt put on.

It wasn’t just the best match over the two nights, but it’s the greatest wrestling spectacle I’ve ever seen.

Bray Wyatt took us through the lives and crimes of Super Cena. From his first-ever match against Kurt Angle that could’ve ended with him being fired, through his Doctor of Thuganomics schtick, all the way up to the man he is today, Wyatt took great care to point out how John isn’t the hero we all think he is.

The whole premise was that Cena buries talent, something which he’s rightly been accused of over the years, but it wasn’t as if Wyatt was trying to punish him for it. He was, in fact, trying to give him a chance to make amends, but the moment he threw a bag of nuts at Bray ended any chance of redemption for Big Match John, and The Fiend would reap an act of terrible revenge on the man who killed the Cult Leader character six years ago.

Yes, people are going crazy over the NWO Cena and other bits and pieces that were littered through-out, but for me, the brilliance of this whole piece was Bray exorcising the demon of that defeat and if this is the last time we ever see John Cena inside a wrestling ring, he went out on his shield, finally doing what he should’ve done at WrestleMania 30.

 Winner: Bray Wyatt/The Fiend

WWE Title Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Title Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar

Look, I’m as happy as the next person that Drew McIntrye is the new WWE Champion and that Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrock Lesnar’s reign of terror is over, at least for now, but if there’s anyone out there that thinks that this was a good wrestling match, then they need their head checked.

All this was was a battle of the finishers and Drew’s Claymore Kick emerged victorious.

I didn’t expect it to be a 20/30 minute classic, but I did expect it to be better than this.

Here’s hoping with Brrrrrrrrrrrrock out of the picture we’ll get to see what The Scottish Psychopath can really bring to the dance.

Winner And New WWE Champion: Drew McIntyre

Stone Cold Beer

Final Thoughts

To my surprise, as well as yours, the WWE managed to actually put on a show that I enjoyed.

I’ve been known to give the company a hard time, and rightly so in my opinion, because if you place yourself as the only game in town worth playing then you should back that up each and every time you put on a show, but usually, that doesn’t happen and we end up with abominations like Goldberg burying The Fiend at Super Blood Money or goddamn Dog Food Matches.

Yet this time out they put on a decent PPV and everyone involved deserves praise for managing to do so in such difficult circumstances.

Has it managed to convert me back into the fold?

No.

But does it mean I hate them a little less this morning?

Yes.

Besides, if they’ve got any sense they’ll build on the success of the Boneyard and Firefly Funhouse matches and hold one PPV a year that involves these types of movie shot matches as I don’t think I’m the only person that would lap that up.

Neil Gray

Written by Neil Gray

The podcast master. The Old Metal Bar-Steward and Weekly Wrestling Ruminations are now available on Spotify and iTunes.

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