Review: WrestleMania 36 Was Pretty Good But Also Terrible

The 36th edition of the top wrestling showcase was always going to be a challenging production for WWE to pull off, and whilst that certainly showed at times, WrestleMania 36 probably exceeded original expectations.

Unlike the usual jam-packed stadium experience with 80,000 wrestling fans in attendance, WrestleMania this year was forced to be held behind closed doors in Orlando at WWE’s Performance Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speculation prior to the weekend was that most of the wrestlers in the company felt that the event should have been postponed, but WWE owner Vince McMahon decided to go ahead.

Some great matches, multiple title changes and downright weird moments will provide a lot for wrestling fans to reflect on.

What You Need To Know From The Biggest Matches

On night one, Braun Strowman defeated Goldberg in a quick encounter to become the new WWE Universal Champion, and to close out the show on night two, Drew McIntire overcame Brock Lesnar to capture the WWE Championship.

Neither of the two matches for WWE’s biggest titles were altogether memorable but provided a well-earned reward for both of the winners, especially McIntire.

Other big moments of the show were the Boneyard Match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles in a heavily edited, cinematic experience which drew a lot of praise from wrestling fans who lauded the return of Undertaker’s ‘American Badass’.

Edge and Randy Orton also had one of the most brutal Last Man Standing matches in recent memory in a match which culminated a nine-year comeback to wrestling for ‘The Rated R Superstar’ Edge who was forced to retire from performing in 2011.

The two women’s championship singles matches were both highly physical, close and entertaining encounters. Becky Lynch retained her Raw Women’s Championship after beating former cage fighter Shayna Baszler and Charlotte Flair defeated NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley to capture that gold.

Kevin Owens finally got his WrestleMania moment, defeating Seth Rollins in what turned out to be a no DQ match, Sami Zayn became the new Intercontinental Champion after defeating Daniel Bryan, and Alesteir Black got the better of Bobby Lashley.

In terms of the Firefly Fun House match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt… god only knows what happened there.

You can read full results from all the matches at WrestleMania here.

Did WrestleMania Deliver Or Did It Flop?

WrestleMania 36 delivered the best show it possibly could’ve given the circumstances.

It was great at times, bad at times, downright weird at times, but most of the talent on the roster got its time in what would usually be a visual backdrop of the biggest annual wrestling event.

There was a lot that wrestling fans could’ve done without, though.

In some ways it was patchy, but this was always going to be the case with an empty arena. It just didn’t feel like WrestleMania, if that makes any sense.

You can hear more of our thoughts on WrestleMania 36 on our podcast where we delve further into all the action and react to the bright spots and low spots.

WrestleMania 35 Review: Popular Results Reign At MetLife Stadium

Wrestling’s biggest annual event didn’t fail to disappoint, for the most part, as new champions were crowned in a tradition-breaking night at MetLife Stadium.

In front of over 83,000 people, women’s wrestling went on last in the ‘main event’ of WrestleMania for the first time in history. In a Triple Threat match for both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles, Becky Lynch defeated Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair to end what was a night of mostly popular results.

Lynch joined six others to be crowned the new champion in New York. Both the Universal Championship and WWE Championship changed hands, Seth Rollins defeating Brock Lesnar in the first match of the night and Kofi Kingston finally reaching the mountain-top of professional wrestling after beating Daniel Bryan.

Kingston hadn’t had a singles match at WrestleMania prior to tonight, and his crowning as WWE Champion was one of the most popular results amongst fans in a long time, perhaps ironically, since his opponent Daniel Bryan captured the same title on the same stage back in 2014 after several years of performing in the mid card.

But for women’s wrestling, going on as the last match was history in itself, and it firmly puts a stamp on the revolution that has seen WWE continue to push its female competitors as regular main-event stature.

Joined by Rousey and Flair, all three women put on a Triple Threat match that could rival any of the men from past years, although it was a shame that the table didn’t break at the end when it was clearly supposed to be a big spot in the match.

Another high point of the night was the Falls Count Anywhere and No Holds Barred matches.

A huge spot at the top of the camera stand saw The Miz suplex Shane McMahon in a near 20-metre drop, only for McMahon to land on top and get the pinfall. Despite taking the loss, it was a great showing for Miz, a performer who many believe should be main eventing more often, and finally, worthy of a place in the top tier of all-time Wrestlemania matches.

Triple H vs Batista was equally as entertaining, albeit with a feel of just another match to satisfy the short-lived return of Batista, now a regular in Hollywood. Triple H, to the surprise of nobody, coming out on top for yet another WrestleMania moment.

John Cena also returned, but this time as ‘The Doctor of Thuganomics’, one of his original gimmicks as a performer. Kurt Angle’s highly controversial farewell match against Baron Corbin went ahead with the former Olympic Gold Medalist taking the loss, signalling the passing of the torch to the next generation after a career spanning 20-years.

Overall Rating: 7/10 Stars

It wasn’t the best WrestleMania but it certainly wasn’t the worst.

Most of the big matches lived up to the hype, albeit with few surprises other than the scheduling with WWE choosing to put Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins up first. Some of the mid card matches felt forced and the pre-show once again filled as an opportunity to get the entire roster some airtime.

No appearances from Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, or The Undertaker will disappoint and surprise many, and the quick defeat of Rey Mysterio, a WWE legend, further confirms that the company is putting big value on some of its newer main eventers.

WrestleMania heads to Tampa Bay in 2020.

John Cena’s time in wrestling far from over

Will John Cena take a similar role to the Paul Levesque in WWE going forward?

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John Cena has achieved everything in World Wrestling Entertainment – a career that has sprung him into various entities of Hollywood including movies and music.

To many, the concept of watching professional wrestling without John Cena in the ring will be almost impossible to grasp.

Cena has been working toward making a similar transition from the ring to behind the curtain much like Paul Levesque did, and when Cena’s time stepping between the ropes is over, Cena is set to be a producer/creative director of sorts.

On the microphone, Cena knocks his performances out of the park.

Creatively, the WWE would be wise to have Cena as part of their “back desk” once his time inside the ring is over.

By that time arrives, it is likely that Paul Levesque (Triple H) will be at the complete and total helm of the company as Vince McMahon gets closer and closer to taking a further back seat into the running of the business.

Is there going to be room for Cena to make a much-requested heel turn before hanging up the boots?

No.

John Cena creates too much business for the company as a baby face to risk turning him heel before his career is over.

That isn’t to mention his popularity amongst children and placing within the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Cena’s career has much more time left upon it, he will remain a part of the WWE for years to come.

Roman Reigns wins WWE’s Royal Rumble

Roman Reigns has won WWE’s Royal Rumble in Philadelphia this afternoon.

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As a result of winning the Royal Rumble, Reigns will perform in the main event on wrestlings big stage, WrestleMania.

The result was widely predicted, and once other Rumble hopeful Daniel Bryan was eliminated, Reigns was always going to be the man WWE were heading with this year.

The crowd reaction was mixed, and it appeared that many were behind the man Reigns eliminated to win the Rumble, the Russian powerhouse Rusev.

The Rumble saw a couple of surprise arrivals, and one big return in the form of Bully Ray who made his first appearance in a WWE ring for 10 years.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also appeared at the end of the show, helping Reigns overcome Kane and the Big Show.

The other big result of the night was Brock Lesnar successfully defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship after a thrilling triple threat match against John Cena and Seth Rollins.

Lesnar is set to defend his title against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania on March 29th.

Jerry Lawler moving to SmackDown because of health reasons

WWE programming is set for a slight revamp as the announcer lineups for both Raw and SmackDown are to change.

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The most notable change sees Jerry “The King” Lawler moving to announce SmackDown alongside newcomer Byron Saxton and Michael Cole.

On Raw, Cole and JBL with be joined by Booker T for WWE’s weekly flagship show that is aired live.

The changes are minor and reasons for Lawler’s shift to SmackDown are believed to be in regards to his self. Lawler suffered a heart attack in 2012, and was recently missing from an episode of Raw due to being back in hospital.

Lawler will remain alongside Cole and JBL as a caller for Pay-Per-View events.

CM Punk’s comments on WWE departure are childish

CM Punk has finally spoken about his WWE departure after months of silence on the matter.

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During a swear word-laden interview on Colt Canana’s The Art of Wrestling Podcast, the former WWE Superstar said the reasons for his WWE departure were down to tensions with the company’s owner Vince McMahon.

But in reality, Punk was tired of not getting everything he wanted, though World Wrestling Entertainment had already bent over backwards trying to accomodate his contract requirements that no doubt changed all the time as Punk himself changed his mind.

Punk claims that McMahon has always shown mixed favorability among wrestlers on the WWE roster.

Bordering on a year since his WWE departure, Punk said he is the happiest he has been in years. The former wrestler went on to say that the sport of professional wrestling, something he thought he loved, just made him miserable all the time.

Miserable enough to stay and make millions of dollars?

While Punk expresses that the decision to leave was hard to make, it appears that he is more than happy to say it was the best thing for him.

Though it is easy to say that after all the money he has made after all.

WWE has been slammed for tending to favor the likes of John Cena over many others in the company, and Punk was one of those guys who was always very vocal back stage, but as much as he himself believes he did, Punk’s firestorm of popularity in 2011/2012 rarely did anything that changed the business for the better.

As good as Punk is and was both in the ring and on the mic all throughout his WWE career, the nature of his comments during the Art of Wrestling podcast suggest that he is hugely motivated by making big money.

Punk didn’t like it when sponsorship opportunities that would have further filled his own bank account were dismissed by WWE.

Brock Lesnar was also a target of Punk in his comments.

But what Punk has to remember is that Lesnar actually went out to the UFC and became a world champion in a legitimate sports entertainment fighting company.Bringing sponsorship back to the WWE under his name was always going to be the case.

It is nice to see Punk discussing his WWE departure after all this time, but the company will be fine without him.

CM Punk really isn’t the be all end all of professional wrestling.

A tribute to Phillip Hughes

Phillip Hughes died at St Vincent’s Hospital yesterday aged 25 after being hit in the head doing what he loved, playing cricket.

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First thing’s first.

I really should have written something about this a lot earlier than now.But to be totally honest I have really been struggling to figure out what I can write that will differ from the sad reality that this situation is and will forever be.

The death of Phillip Hughes is being called the saddest day in the history of cricket, a statement all too true.

Games all over the world have been put on hold, and matches continuing on after a day of mourning and respect for Hughes will all be met with various ceremonies to honor Australia’s fallen batsmen.

Phillip Hughes was a cricketer through and through, and he died doing what he did best.

This tragic incident has literally rocked the cricketing world to the core, and nobody more than the family and friends of Hughes who have been at his bedside at St Vincent’s hospital over the last couple of days will be impacted greater.

Michael Clarke as Australian cricket captain is distraught and should be applauded for the tremendous job he did yesterday delivering the families statement during a press conference.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, for the best part of two days Clarke barely left Hughes bedside.

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Clarke and Hughes are believed to have had a very close relationship off the field. Phil was like a little brother to Michael, they were the best of friends.

Not much else can really be said in all fairness.

But all discussion surrounding the banning of bouncer deliveries need to be squashed immediately. Banning short pitched bowling is the single worst thing that could come out of this tragedy, and Hughes himself I dare say would not want to see it happen.

Life is precious, and short, but friends and family of Hughes will remember him by the picture below.

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He was a man who loved cricket.

The final thing I want to write in this piece today is about the bowler who delivered that ball, Sean Abbott.

None of this is his fault, and while I am sure the burden he will carry will live within him for the rest of his life, the entire cricketing public is supporting him just as much if not more than what they are for the Hughes family. Sport, like life, is a game of the unexpected and nobody could have predicted this.

Batsmen get hit on the head everyday by short pitched deliveries, the situation with Phil Hughes was a one in a million.

Here is hoping Sean Abbott goes on to become one of the best Australian fast bowlers off all time.

WWE needs a shake up

With various websites reporting on how stale WWE has become, WWE need to address the immediate future and make it less mundane.

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The general opinion is that the surprise arrival of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on this weeks RAW was the only major point of interest in recent shows, and was the only really exciting thing to happen since the last Pay-Per-View.

With WWE champion Brock Lesnar all but confirmed to not be appearing at Hell in a Cell, WWE now go into one of their more interesting shows of the year minus a championship match.

Is John Cena taking on Dean Ambrose meant to be a drawcard? Why hasn’t Seth Rollins cashed in yet?

The sudden injury to Roman Reigns eally derailed the WWE, who were banking on the interest he was generating. For many wrestling followers, frustration that WWE didn’t take the chance to have Lesnar bury Cena for the second time in a row back at Night of Champions is still alive and well.

And how can you blame them? The WWE botched what was a big opportunity that would have put Lesnar into the realm where he deserves to be in the business. Cena has had his time of overcoming the odds, an angle that WWE constantly push down people’s throats, he needed to be beaten solidly after SummerSlam.

Instead, WWE chose to have the only match on the card with any draw value end in a predictable non result. Now Brock Lesnar is off television, presumably until either Survivor Series, or potentially even the Royal Rumble.

Fresh and compelling needs to be the way forward for WWE heading into wrestlings silly season.

Having Roman Reigns return at the Rumble and win it is interesting, and would please a lot of people, but maybe something even more dire than that needs to occur. Lets not forget that Undertaker’s streak is over, and even if Taker was to perform at next years show, the big draw for WrestleMania began slipping the moment Undertaker shockingly stayed down for the three count in New Orleans last April.

Reigns, nor Daniel Bryan, or even Sting would be able to draw the crowd like Undertaker (with his streak still alive) would have.

WWE really do have a problem going forward, and need to do something quickly.

Maybe a little less about the $9.99, and more about creating something fresh and new should be on WWE’s agenda right now.

Lesnar retains WWE title as ending leaves much to be desired

John Cena won on the night, but WWE’s interesting ending to the main event at Night of Champions could now leave an almighty problem going forward with Lesnar still the champ.

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Cena hit four “attitude adjustment” finishing moves on Lesnar, and managed to hold down the beast for three successive submission holds prior to the arrival of Seth Rollins. On the fourth “attitude adjustment”, Seth Rollins stormed the ring and destroyed what was a pretty decent main event until that point.

Cena got the win via disqualification, so that means Brock Lesnar remains the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE’s angle with the ending to Night of Champions was both obvious but also unexpected.

You can understand the idea of not having the top man Cena lose two championship matches back-to-back, but with Seth Rollins not actually going through and becoming the new champion after cashing in has potentially left an issue for the next PPV.

Fans won’t be happy with a third successive Cena/Lesnar bout, so who does Brock Lesnar defend the title against next?

Once again, WWE had the chance to end a PPV well, but chose an annoying finish which ruined the main event.

Either a convincing Lesnar win, or a slightly surprising but warm welcome regather of the belt for Cena would have been a decent ending to an otherwise awesome PPV, but the WWE creative forces went with neither, and instead chose an alternative which made many feel like the big rematch between Lesnar and Cena was really a non event all said and done.

Expect John Cena to be put into an angle with Seth Rollins beginning from tomorrow’s episode of Raw. It remains to be seen what direction the WWE decide to take Brock Lesnar and the title picture in from here.

But despite the ending, Night of Champions will go down as one of the best PPV’s that the WWE have produced this year.

Reaction: Lesnar destroys Cena to take the title in a surprising SummerSlam main event

The main event at SummerSlam was barely a wrestling match, and it’s impact was quick and sizable. 

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Brock Lesnar is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and fans of John Cena will still be getting used to the reality of what they saw in the ring during the so called “biggest fight of the summer”.

Cena was completely and utterly dominated. The champ mustered practically zero offense. 

After losing the title in such a drastic and brutal fashion, where do WWE take John Cena from here? 

Lesnar delivered sixteen, yes sixteen German Suplexes to Cena during the match, and the second F5 was when the victory count came.

Cheers with ruffled laughter was the reaction of the crowd inside the Staples Center. Most predicted that Lesnar would win, but not many saw the match going the way it did, and certainly everybody was shocked at just how one sided the creative team at WWE decided to script the match.

Fans have never seen John Cena, arguably WWE’s top man, be dominated in such a fashion. 

But with Lesnar now as the champ, the question remains over how WWE will book him going forward. Will Lesnar defend the title at the next PPV? And who out of the current roster can you say is legitimate enough to take the title off Lesnar when the time comes? 

SummerSlam proved that it isn’t John Cena.