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WWE Wrestlemania 37 (Night 2)
by Scrooge McSuck
LIVE from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL, with worse weather throughout the day than we saw on Saturday for Night #1. We’ve got the usual gang calling the action (minus Tom Phillips, because he went back to his home planet and died along the way). Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan are still hosting, and the fans still poop on Hogan’s appearance. This time, the duo is here in full Pirate gear. Make of that what you will, I got nothing.
Ashland Craft performs America the Beautiful.
Randy Orton vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (w/ Alexa Bliss):
When we last left off, The Fiend returned from being set ablaze, looking like a melted milk dud, and Orton did the job to Alexa Bliss, complete with a cover that belongs on the thumbnail of an adult website. Orton is wearing the ultra-rare WHITE trunks and knee pads. After that lengthy entrance and even longer video package, Alexa comes out and there’s a giant jack-in-the-box at ringside. The Fiend emerges and has magically healed from his previous wounds. I guess it wouldn’t have been comfortable in working in all that gear, but if Kane Hodder could do it as Jason Voorhees... The Fiend dives off the box with a big clothesline and plants Orton with a uranage. Oh God, they’re still working matches under the red lights. Orton lures the Fiend to ringside and drops him across the table, but Fiend no-sells and grabs the Mandible Claw. Back inside, Orton escapes and hits the draping DDT. Fiend pops up again, blocks the RKO, but goes face-first into the "box-like structure at ringside" on a blind charge. Orton with another DDT and stomps to the hands. The Fiend cuts him off with a clothesline and bounces off the ropes with a body press. Orton rolls away from a senton and tosses the Fiend out. More punts to the chest and a third DDT connects. He sets up for the RKO but the Fiend counters. He sets up for Sister Abigail, but suddenly Alexa is on the box, bleeding black ink. Orton uses the distraction to hit the RKO and score the three-count at 5:53. WHAT THE FLYING F*CK WAS THAT?! Post-match, the lights go out and everyone disappears. OK. Still better than their last match together at WrestleMania. *½
Bayley shows up to interrupt Titus and Hulk Hogan while Eric Bischoff puts over the Main Event from last night.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match:
Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (c) vs. Natalya & Tamina:
Natalya and Tamina earned this spot by winning one of the worst matches in recent WrestleMania history. Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned heel vs heel match at WRESTLEMANIA? Remember Undertaker vs Big Boss Man? THANK GOD, WE DON’T HAVE THE BELLA TWINS ADDED. Shayna and Natalya start. Lockup and they do the headlock and head-scissors counter. Whip and Baszler with a shoulder tackle. They go through a series of counters until Baszler gets to the ropes to avoid the Sharpshooter. This crowd doesn’t seem impressed by this presentation. Nia shoves Natalya down and wants Tamina. Nia throws a headbutt with ZERO EFFECT. Tamina with headbutts of her own but can’t get Jax up for the slam. Double back body-drop to Jax and gourd buster to Baszler. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter again but gets caught in a cradle for two. Natalya remains in control, tossing Shayna with a release German suplex. Whip and Tamina with a clothesline out of the corner. Slingshot into a Super-Kick and it sounds like the crowd has a little bit of respect for Tamina. Shayna rallies, knocking Natalya silly with a flurry of strikes. Meanwhile, Jax plants Tamina at ringside with a slam, leaving Natalya to suffer. Shayna works the ankle to get some heat on the match. Natalya sounds like she’s been studying the work of Iron Mike Sharpe with her selling. Shayna with a knee to the face for two. How is Tamina playing dead for this long for a simple slam? Jax misses a charge, smacking her shoulder on the post. Natalya with a discus clothesline for two. Tamina comes back to lfie to save Natalya after a spine-buster. Tamina with the hot tag, running wild with elbows and a diving headbutt. Baszler goes for the ankle but Tamina stomps her down in the corner. Tamina counters the Kirifuda Clutch with a Samoan drop for two. Tamina climbs but Shayna cuts her off with a roundhouse kick. Jax in, hitting both challengers with a cross body press for two. Nia decides now is the time for trash talk. Tamina back-hands her and scoops her up with a slam for a near-fall. Tamina climbs again and the Superfly Splash misses. Natalya tags in and is instantly caught in the opposite corner. Baszler gets the blind tag as Natalya fights free and goes for the Sharpshooter on Jax. Baszler from behind with the Kirifuda Clutch and the Champions retain at 14:20. This was perfectly fine, but it felt a little deflating with the crowd getting behind Tamina. **½
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn:
Zayn’s conspiracy theories have dragged his former friend and often enemy Kevin Owens into the picture, and we’ve got Logan Paul involved for some reason. He’s got 23 million YouTube subscribers, so he must be a big deal to the 50+ year old average WWE fan. John "Bradshaw" Layfield joins commentary for this one. YAY. Zayn charges into the corner and gets nailed with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. He’s got enough in him to powder out, so Owens follows and teases the ring apron Powerbomb, but Zayn fights free. Back inside, Owens with chops a suplex dropped across the top rope. He charges into the corner with a clothesline and follows with a cannonball. Cue Bradshaw’s token Otto Wanz reference. Owens climbs but Zayn bails out again. Owens meets a boot going after him and gets hit with a brain buster on the apron. THAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING! THIS MAN HAS A FAMILY, DAMMIT! Back inside, Zayn throws some wild right hands. Michinoku Driver for two (called a Blue Thunder Bomb by Cole, which Graves immediately jumps on). Owens blocks the super-plex and we get a hockey fight on the top of rope. Owens with a headbutt to send Zayn crashing to the canvas, followed by a Frog Splash for two. Zayn avoids a second Pop-Up Powerbomb but gets caught with a fisherman neck buster for another near fall. Zayn counters a package piledriver and sends Owens into the corner with the exploder. Owens avoids the Helluva Kick but gets caught with the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Zayn with another exploder suplex, followed by the half-nelson suplex and brain buster for two. Zayn gets the better of another strike exchange in the corner. Owens counters the super-plex, planting Sami with a Fisherman Buster. Owens charges into the corner with a clothesline but Zayn pops out with a Helluva Kick! He holds Owens up, positions him in the corner for an encore, but Owen counters with a Super-Kick. Owens with a second Super-Kick, and the Stunner finishes at 9:17. Post-match, Logan Paul gets in the ring and shoves Sami down for getting in his face. The crowd desperately wants KO to do something to him, and they pay it off with Paul eating a Stunner! This was the greatest hits version of Sami vs. KO and I loved every second of it. ****
Riddle is backstage, running into the Great Khali and Ranjin Singh, sounding like someone just watched Dude Where’s My Car last week and thought it was great comedic material. Rob Van Dam shows up to form the Rock ‘n’ Roll-a-Joint Express, shilling his rolling papers while Riddle suggests Khali sell "Khali Trolley’s."
WWE U.S. Championship Match:
Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus:
We see three weeks ago when Sheamus assaulted Riddle with his own scooter. WRESTLEMANIA BABY. At least it isn’t a fight for a Japanese Shampoo commercial. WHAT THE F*CK IS WITH THE CGI BIRDS?! Lockup into the corner and Sheamus grounds Riddle with a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and Sheamus with a shoulder tackle before going to work on the arm. Riddle fights free with chops and right hands. Sheamus fights out of a sleeper, slamming Riddle backwards into the corner and landing a series of elbows. Riddle goes for a body press but Sheamus plants him with a uranage for two. Irish Curse back breaker for two. Whip to the corner, Riddle catches Sheamus by the arm and hangs over the ropes with the arm bar. Sheamus stuns him with a blow to the spine and dishes out his signature forearms across the chest. Back inside and Sheamus with a suplex for two. He climbs the ropes, but Riddle meets him on the top and takes him down with a belly-to-belly suplex along the lines of a Spanish Fly. Riddle throws Sheamus out of the corner with another suplex and follows with a senton and jackhammer for a near fall. Sheamus counters the Bro Derek and sends Riddle over the ropes. Riddle catches him on the ear with a roundhouse but runs into a knee strike for two. Sheamus with an Alabama Slam for two. Riddle avoids the Irish Curse and drops Sheamus on the apron with a German suplex. Riddle with a punt to the chest and twisting Asai Moonsault. Back inside, Riddle goes to the top and hits a corkscrew senton for two. Sheamus counters the arm bar and pounds away with short right hands. Riddle climbs up with Sheamus again but gets caught with White Noise (there was a slip robbing us of the super-sized version). Sheamus climbs again and hits a flying knee drop for two. IVAN KOLOFF BEAT BRUNO SAMMARTINO WITH THAT MOVE! Riddle avoids the Brogue Kick, but a springboard is countered with a second attempt, and Sheamus is the NEW United States Champion at 10:51. Riddle’s mouth is busted open from that kick, and the replay shows how clean of a kick to the jaw that was. Another great action-packed match. ****
WWE Intercontinental Championship; Nigerian Drum Fight:
Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews:
Crews has been on the "main roster" for almost 5-years and has had very little to show for it. His frustration at the lack of success has fueled his heel turn, embracing his Nigerian heritage. "Nigerian Drum Fight" translates to "No Disqualifications." Wale sings Big E to the ring. The ring is surrounded by weapons, drums, and a GONG. Both men bail and grab kendo sticks. They waste no time swinging for the fences, with Big E sending Apollo to the floor. Crews fights the gong out of Big E’s hands and lights him up with more kendo stick strikes. Back in the ring, Big E sends Apollo to the apron and hits him with a clean spear through the ropes for a near fall. Big E rearranges furniture and gets spiked on the apron with a Death Valley Driver for it. Apollo grabs the steps to splatter Big E’s skull but Big E rolls away from the attempted murder. Big E recovers on the apron, slamming Crews onto the steps with a uranage. Apollo avoids being put through the table, nailing Big E with an anzuigiri and a flurry of strikes with the kendo stick. Apollo climbs and misses a Frog Splash through a table. Big E with the Big Ending, but here’s Babatunde (Dabba-Kato from Raw Underground) to attack Big E and plant him with a chokeslam. He puts Apollo on top of Big E, and we have a NEW Intercontinental Champion at 6:50. Well, that was unexpected. The run-in, not the title change. Match was fine, but a downgrade after the last two matches. **½
Recap of Night 1 of WrestleMania, where they somehow manipulate the highlights to make the Turmoil Match look decent.
Here’s the Hall of Fame Class of 2021: Rob Van Dam, Molly Holly, The Great Khali, Ozzy Osbourne (Celebrity Wing), Warrior Award recipient Rich Hering (why do I feel like I’ve seen him somewhere on a WWF video?), Eric Bischoff, and Kane. Whoops, sorry... KAAAAANE~! Had to bust that one out for old time’s sake.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match:
Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley:
Thank goodness for real-life interfering with the ridiculously stupid feud between Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans, paving the way for a match people want to see. Ripley only made her main roster debut a few weeks ago so we’re light on storyline here, but this should be good. Ash Costello of New Years Day sings Rhea to the ring. Asuka opens with some mind games but doesn’t take long to erupt on offense with a dropkick and forearm strikes. Ripley rolls through a back-slide but gets backed up with another dropkick. Asuka misses a running hip attack but recovers in time to send Ripley into the turnbuckle with a drop toe hold. Asuka follows her to the floor, catching her on the chin with a knee strike. Back inside, Asuka misses another hip attack and gets nailed on the chest with a Super-Kick. Ripley slams her face first and covers for two. Ripley with a body scissors as he clubs Asuka repeatedly across the back. She rolls Asuka into a mount, paint-brushing her while doing some trash talk. Asuka breaks free but gets nailed with a dropkick. Ripley with a pair of short clotheslines. Asuka blocks a Super-Kick, hooking the leg and applying an Ankle Lock. Ripley rolls through, countering with a release German suplex for two. She continues to punish the back of Asuka with kicks and shoulder thrusts. Asuka fights Ripley down from the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick. Asuka sends Ripley into the corner with a German suplex, hits the running hip attack and rocks her with a flurry of strikes. Asuka with another hip attack for a near fall. Asuka climbs the ropes again but Ripley knocks her to the floor with a dropkick. Ripley follows, blocking a kick and slamming Asuka face-first into the apron. They keep fighting on the apron until Asuka plants Ripley at ringside with a DDT! Back inside, Asuka with a sliding knee to the face for two. Ripley catches the second knee and stomps Asuka into the canvas. She goes for the cloverleaf but Asuka counter with the arm bar. Ripley escapes using sheer strength to break the hold and brings Asuka in from the apron with a suplex for two. Asuka escapes a waist-lock and goes back to the arm before transitioning to the Asuka Lock. Ripley counters with a stack-up cover for two. Asuka lays in some kicks but Ripley shrugs them off and hits the Rip-Tide for three to win the Raw Women’s Championship at 13:28. Seemed like they were pacing to go longer, but another good, hard-hitting contest. ***½
Bayley interrupts Titus and Hulk AGAIN to steal the spotlight. She’s interrupted by Nikki and Brie Bella, because that’s who everyone wants to see. Bayley immediately cuts them off and after a few digs, including a John Cena reference, gets double-teamed to A CHORUS OF BOOS.
WWE Universal Championship Match:
Roman Reigns (c) (w/ Paul Heyman & Jey Uso) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan:
Main Event and conclusion of WrestleMania Weekend. Edge won the Royal Rumble Match, but his blatant interference at Fastlane led to Daniel Bryan being granted a spot in this match, shoehorned in against the wishes of Edge who seems obsessed with regaining what he had to relinquish 10-years ago when he was forced into retirement. Technically, the Universal Title didn’t exist in 2011, but that’s not important. Will this be Daniel Bryan’s final match at WrestleMania? Time will tell. Roman opens the bout by dropping Bryan with a right hand. Bryan comes back with uppercuts but gets tossed to the floor where Uso nails him with a Super-Kick and sends him into the steps. Edge gets tossed next and gets to eat a Super-Kick as well. They undress the table, and I just noticed a brace on Roman’s right hand. Bryan hits Roman with a tope suicida but Uso hits him with ANOTHER Super-Kick. Edge avoids another attack, sending Jey into the steps and tossing Roman back-and-forth between the ring and barricade. Edge turns his attention to Uso, giving him the implant DDT onto the steps. Bryan and Edge rolls back into the ring as officials take Uso from ringside. They trade forearms, with Edge getting the upper hand. Whip to the corner, Bryan catches him with a drop toe hold and unloads with kicks to the chest. He straddles Edge across the top rope but a hurricanrana is countered with a sunset flip for two. Reverse neck breaker for two. Reigns gets back into the picture but is swept off the apron by Bryan. Roman catches a tope suicida and tosses Bryan overhead with a release belly-to-belly suplex. Edge surprises Roman with a basement dropkick but is caught rolling into the ring with a leaping clothesline. Edge avoids the Superman Punch and hits the Implant DDT. He sets up for a Spear but is nailed with the Superman Punch on attempt number two. Roman misses his own spear and gets caught with a sunset flip for two. Both men bounce off the ropes for a spear and crash into each other for one of the more unique double-downs I’ve seen in a while.
Bryan is back to life, diving off the top rope with a headbutt to Edge, followed by a second to Roman for a near fall. Bryan with the Yes Kicks to both men. He nails Edge with the running knee and rattles Roman with a roundhouse kick for another two-count. He goes for the Yes-Lock, but Edge makes the save. Edge gets caught in the Yes-Lock, and now it’s Roman making the save to preserve his championship reign. Roman unloads on Bryan with mounted right forearms and slams him across the chest of Edge with a powerbomb. We’re back to where we were at the beginning, with Roman arranging the furniture at ringside and putting Bryan through the table with a Powerbomb. He basks in his accomplishments and Edge comes out of nowhere with a Spear! Edge brings a chair into the ring but Roman wrestles it from his hands. Edge blocks the guillotine, sending Roman throat-first into the ropes and hooks the cross-face! He uses a piece of the broken chair for extra leverage, but Bryan makes the save and applies the Yes Lock to the right arm! Edge and Bryan smack heads to get position while poor Roman dies between them. Bryan gets the better of things, pounding Edge’s brains into goo. He sets up in the corner for the big knee, but Edge counters with the Spear! Roman is back up, whiffing with the Superman Punch. Edge with a Spear but Bryan pulls the referee out of the ring at two! Edge fetches another chair and smacks Bryan across the back. Back inside, he brutalizes both men with the chair. Edge smashes Bryan with a con-chair-to. Jey Uso is back to make the temporary save for Roman, but now he takes a beating. Reigns back up with the Spear on Edge. He gives Edge a taste of his old medicine, with a con-chair-to and PINS BOTH MEN AT THE SAME TIME AT 21:41 to retain. Like I said, could’ve gone in any direction. Excellent match to cap off the weekend with a brutal finish. ****½
Final Thoughts: Things started rough, but nothing was outright terrible except for the Bayley/Bella segment. The Main Event delivered, we got three great matches under-neath, and even the women’s tag made up for last night’s disappointment. The show had a little bit of filler with too many video packages but each show only going 3-ish hours is still tolerable after marathon Mania’s that only had 8 matches on the main card. Strong Recommendation.
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