Wrestlemania 36, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) conducted their 36th annual Wrestlemania event on 4th and 5th of April (the first two-day show in the event’s history). It was held in an empty building (the WWE’s own Performance Center) without fans in attendance as a precaution against the COVID-19 epidemic. The following matches took place on Night 1:
Wrestlemania 36, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross def. Kabuki Warriors (C) (Women’s Tag Team Championship Match)
Bliss and Cross challenged the dominant team of Asuka and Kairi Sane for the Women’s Tag Team Titles in a competitive match to open the show. The four competitors made up for the lack of crowd noise as best they could. In the end, Cross performed The Purge on Sane followed by Bliss performing a Twisted Bliss to win and become the first two-time champions in the titles’ history.
Elias def. Baron ‘King’ Corbin
Next, Elias took on Corbin in a slow and laborious match. Elias failed to properly sell his previous injuries and the pair failed to disguise the lack of a crowd. In the end, Elias performed a roll-up pin on Corbin (who was arguing with the referee) and stole the victory.
Becky Lynch (C) def. Shayna Baszler (Raw Women’s Championship Match)
Former NXT Champion Shayna Baszler took on ‘The Man’ Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship in an enthralling back and forth contest. The match was fantastic until the abrupt end, where Lynch countered Baszler’s Kirafuda Clutch into a surprise pin to retain her title.
Sami Zayn (c) (with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura) def. Daniel Bryan (with Drew Gulak) (Intercontinental Championship Match)
Another entertaining match, which featured Sami Zayn attempting to use his champion’s advantage and escape with his title without having to fight Daniel Bryan. Cesaro and Nakamura kept trying to interfere but were neutralised by Drew Gulak. When Daniel Bryan finally got his hands on Zayn, he unleashed a flurry of stiff strikes, and it seemed like he would win the title until Zayn caught him with a Helluva Kick (after interference). Though not the 5-star classic these two are capable of putting on, it was a refreshing change of pace with the added advantage of continuing the feud.
John Morrison (c) def. Jimmy Uso and Kofi Kingston (Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship)
These three put on a banger of a match. The sound of the ladders definitely covered up the overwhelming silence due to the absence of a crowd. There were multiple good spots and exchanges, and trash talk was a welcome addition. In the end, Morrison escaped with his title because of Kingston and Jimmy’s inability to work together to take him out for good.
Kevin Owens def. Seth Rollins (No Disqualification Match)
This match had two parts. The first part was a classic wrestling match, with a healthy exchange of wrestling holds and strikes. When Owens began to take the upper hand, Rollins got frustrated, disqualified and began to leave until Owens challenged him to a follow-up no DQ match. The highlight of the match was Kevin Owen’s flying elbow from the top of the Wrestlemania sign. Owens finally ended the match with a stunner and a pinfall.
Brawn Strowman def. Goldberg (C) (Universal Championship Match)
This was a short, explosive yet underwhelming match. Both participants exchanged finishers until Brawn managed to put Goldberg down with a Running Powerslam. Nothing to write home about.
The Undertaker def. AJ Styles (Boneyard Match)
This match exceeded all expectations. The cinematic way it was shot managed to hide the flaws in the Undertaker’s game. Both men stepped up to the challenge and put on a highly entertaining and rewatchable contest. AJ had the match won until Undertaker unleashed his ‘Phenom’ side, and finally lulled him into a false sense of security before putting him down. The return of the ‘American Badass’ was done in the best manner possible, and the final shot was one for the ages.
Wrestlemania 36 was far more entertaining than expected. Though there were some boring matches, most of them featured driven and motivated competitors determined to put on the best possible performance to distract the home audience from the ongoing crisis.