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 2:
Charlotte Flair def. Rhea Ripley (C) (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
This match was a very strong contender for the match of the night. Charlotte worked over the champion’s legs throughout the bout to set up for the Figure-Eight Leglock. The clearly over-confident Rhea Ripley was out of her depth here and eventually submitted to the Queen. Charlotte Flair is the new NXT Women’s Champion poses some very exciting implications for new storylines and feuds down in NXT.
Aleister Black def. Bobby Lashley (with Lana)
These two told a good story in the ring. The match itself was quite mediocre, Bobby Lashley almost had it won until Lana’s shrieking orders from outside, causing Black to capitalise with the Black Mass. Lashley and Lana already have cracks in their marriage, making the audience question the need for the slow burial of Rusev for the past few months.
Otis (with Mandy Rose) is def. Dolph Ziggler (with Sonya Deville)
Another mediocre match, but it was somewhat salvaged by Dolph’s selling ability. Otis got the feelgood win after Mandy Rose took revenge for the Showoff’s lies and manipulation. This storyline puts an interesting spotlight on Sonya Deville and raises questions as to who the benevolent hacker is.
Edge def. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing Match)
A huge letdown by these two. This match was the second-longest in Wrestlemania’s 36-year long history and felt like it. This wasn’t so much Edge’s energy-packed explosive return/redemption as it was a guided tour around the Performance Centre. The referee’s slow count was quite obnoxious. The last few minutes were quite good, with the Rated-R Superstar showing off some of the skills he’s picked up from TV acting. The counter-filled finishing sequence was perfect. But the middle 30-or so minutes of this match could’ve been cut entirely to no detriment.
The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) (C) def. Angel Garza and Austin Theory (with Zelina Vega) (Raw Tag Team Championships Match)
This match was more of a filler match than anything else. While Montez Ford’s natural charisma shined, not much else did. The Street Profits picked up the win following yet another great Frog Splash by Ford. Bianca Belair made her debut, and will hopefully bring some life into Raw’s fledgeling Women’s Division
Bayley (C) def. Sasha Banks, Naomi, Lacey Evans and Tamina (Smackdown Women’s Championship Fatal Five-Way Match)
Another entertaining filler contest. Tamina was out first, which was a welcome element, as she is probably the least talented of the bunch. The tension between Sasha and Bayley was probably the only highlight of this match, and it was great. Bayley pinned Lacey to win after Sasha interfered, but I’m looking forward to a slow burn feud between these two.
‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt def. John Cena (Funhouse Match)
This wasn’t so much a wrestling match as a deconstruction of who John Cena is, what his journey has been, and what it could have been. It doesn’t really live up to the ‘match’ moniker and would’ve been much better as a vignette in the buildup. But it tells its story well, with Easter Eggs that will please every wrestling fan who has invested and paid attention to Cena’s career.
Drew McIntyre def. Brock Lesnar (C) (WWE Championship Match)
The match structure was almost identical to the Universal Title match on Night 1. But Drew’s victory was a great culmination to his years-long journey and a satisfying fulfilment of his destiny. It definitely suffered the most from the lack of a crowd, but Heyman at ringside added a lot to this match, as did Drew’s fourth-wall-breaking thank you to the fans at home
Wrestlemania 36, Night 2 suffered more from the lack of an audience than night 1. Match quality was quite inconsistent, and some results were very polarising. However, props have to be given to WWE for not backing down during this crisis and putting on an entertaining show. This will definitely go down as the most unique Wrestlemania in history.