By Graham "GSM" Matthews
United States Champion Kalisto def. Ryback (Kickoff Match)
For a match with little build and few fans cared about, this was a quality contest and both Ryback and Kalisto deserve credit for putting forth a solid effort. Fans were still packing into the building as the match was happening, but they reacted pretty favorably to Kalisto and the "Lucha!" chants. Ryback was on offense for the majority of the matchup and Kalisto bounced back for the win, so it was essentially what you would expect. It was just fine for what it was supposed to be.
Total Divas def. B.A.D. & Blonde (Kickoff Match)
I saw plenty of praise for this match online, and perhaps I'm being too harsh when I didn't think it wasn't good at all. Could it have been far worse? Absolutely, but it seemed like there were a ton of botched spots and there was never really a flow to it. I didn't expect much anyway, so I wasn't disappointed, but I'd be lying if I said it exceeded my expectations. At the very least, Paige and Emma did most of the in-ring work for their respective teams, Brie Bella scored a nice win on her way out of the company, and this was relegated to the Kickoff show where it belonged.
Lita Unveiled the New WWE Women's Championship (Kickoff Show)
It's about damn time! I had read this segment was originally scheduled for Raw, so I was surprised to see it occur at WrestleMania, but I really liked the move to debut the new title on the grand stage because it meant the winner of the Triple Threat would become the inaugural champion. Apparently, it's not carrying the lineage of the original Women's title, but I'm all right with that. Lita was also the perfect person to introduce it as well. I like the design, and even if you don't, you have to admit it's better than that damn butterfly belt. Here's hoping the death of the "Diva" term is permanent and the women's division is here to stay.
The Usos def. The Dudley Boyz (Kickoff Match)
It's sad when you think about how The Usos have been relegated to the Kickoff show four times now and have yet to compete on the main WrestleMania card. They weren't given much time to contest the match they were capable of, but it was fun while it lasted. Not only did The Usos win, but they put The Dudley Boyz through tables afterward as well. I have zero clue how the rivalry continues after that, but it should be noted that The Dudley Boyz have been adamant about being back to put over the younger talent.
Zack Ryder def. Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Sin Cara and Stardust in a Ladder Match to Win the Intercontinental Championship
I was hoping they wouldn't follow the same formula as last year by kicking off the show with the Ladder match, but it wasn't a cardinal sin as it was able to open the event on a high note. It was what we would thought it would be in that the build to this bout has been lousy, but the in-ring action was excellent. All seven Superstars had their time to shine and took risks that were visually cool yet didn't put their bodies too much in danger. Needless to say, Zack Ryder winning was a total shocker, but I absolutely loved it. Not only as a fan of Ryder and how much he deserved the 'Mania moment, but it set a precedent for the rest of the show that anything could happen. Now the question is if he drops the belt back to Owens on Raw on Monday night.
Chris Jericho def. AJ Styles
I would have put this match in the opening slot and followed it up with the Ladder match because there was no way that the crowd was going to be as engaged in this bout as they were that. Ladder matches are always exciting, so the reaction to that wouldn't have been any different. Nevertheless, they wrestled a great match that was slightly slow early on but they picked up the pace nicely down the stretch. All the reversals and various finishers had me on the edge of my seat toward the end and the Y2J victory surprised me. I don't think Styles lost anything in defeat, though, if the idea is to keep the feud going into the next pay-per-view.
League of Nations def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Non-title)
It was funny (albeit unsurprising) to me how the highlights of the match weren't what happened during it but rather what happened beforehand and afterward. New Day's Booty-Os entrance was a true spectacle, to say the least. When the hell did this change from a Handicap match to a six-man tag team match? And the tag titles still weren't on the line? Talk about mass confusion. Thankfully, they saved this mess of a match by having Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley return to take out League of Nations. I don't agree with WWE constantly relying on past stars to inject excitement into their shows, but it undoubtedly made for a moment.
Brock Lesnar def. Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Fight
I won't go so far as to say this match was a massive disappointment as I have seen it called (though I can understand the criticism), but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't all that I thought it could have been. I appreciated Ambrose being in a big match at WrestleMania, but he barely got in any offense and the match was over in 12 minutes. It was almost a glorified Raw match or something suited for a B-level pay-per-view. Ambrose didn't look like the star I assume he would coming out of this, sending the message that he just isn't on that level, which is a shame. I really don't know where they go with either guy now because Lesnar is presumably gone until the summer and Ambrose doesn't have any obvious opponents at the moment.
Charlotte def. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat Match to Win the WWE Women's Championship
By the end of the evening, I was certain in saying that this was the match of the night. When did you think that would ever be the case at WrestleMania? Not to slight the women, but look at what we've been given in recent years for Divas matches. Charlotte, Banks and Lynch were given the platform to have a tremendous Triple Threat and they did just that. The entrances alone for all three women, for me, were enough to solidify them as stars. Ric Flair getting knocked down by Lynch only to factor into the finish was weird, but I can't complain about Charlotte retaining because, again, no one saw it coming. Plus, it makes for a better story with Banks not getting pinned. I just fear for Lynch in this scenario because she was the one who tapped and she doesn't deserve to fade off into obscurity going forward. Will Bayley get the call-up as soon as Raw to challenge Charlotte?
The Undertaker def. Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell Match
Without Shane jumping off the top of the cell, which we were all waiting for, would this match have been as critically acclaimed? I didn't see anyone calling it a Match of the Year candidate or anything (and it wasn't), but they worked will within their limits. The cell structure didn't serve any other purpose than that one spot, but that didn't bother me too much. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of interference as well. My only complaint about this match is that Shane looked way too strong against Undertaker. That's not to say this should have been a total squash, but Shane is just an average dude, whereas Undertaker won 21 straight matches at the event. I wasn't frustrated Undertaker won simply because I predicted he would, but it does make me a little sad that The Authority is still around.
Baron Corbin Won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
I had the feeling they were going to cut this from the show entirely because of time constraints, but I'm glad they didn't. I'd call this the best Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to date, but I realize that isn't saying much. I really liked the surprise entrants of Tatanka, Diamond Dallas Page and especially Shaq. I finally got my Shaq vs. Big Show 'Mania match I've been begging for since 2009! Corbin was a very deserving winner. Granted, past years have shown that the trophy is worthless, but this is the time for WWE to push Corbin to the moon. I didn't expect him to get the call-up after WrestleMania, but I'm beyond happy with it.
The Rock def. Erick Rowan
I was going to be letdown if the only reason WWE brought in Rock was to announce the record-setting attendance (congrats to WWE on that by the way), so I'm glad he was involved in more than just that. I honestly can't be mad about him "burying" The Wyatt Family because, well, they're already buried! How much worse can he do? I won't make the argument that he benefited from sharing a ring with Rock because that ship sailed long ago, but I've lost all hope for him by this point. He was advertised for the event anyway, so it's not like WWE left money on the table by not saying he would wrestle (and people would have been pissed since it was a six second match). Also, he's baaaaaack! Anyone questioning why John Cena and Rock would help each other despite all their bad blood obviously didn't see them make up at WrestleMania 29 (which still annoys me to no end). We'll see what's next for Cena on Raw. Anything but another Cena-Wyatt feud, please.
Roman Reigns def. Triple H to Win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
So, they went with this as the main event after all. Ugh. I would have been content if the show closed out with Rock vs. Rowan to be honest with you. First of all, I didn't hate the match. It was pretty solid by and large and the spear to Stephanie McMahon was sweet (her getting her comeuppance was long overdue), but the predictability killed it. Not even a tease for a Reigns heel turn or anything, basically. Reigns wins, celebrates afterward, and that was it. What a lousy final shot to the show. There is no incentive for fans to tune in tomorrow because we've seen Reigns as champion against The Authority (who remain in power in case you forgot) before. I enjoyed this event quite a bit on the whole as I'll discuss in the next paragraph, but that left a sour taste in my mouth. At least I didn't get my hopes up for something special.
There is a distinct difference between a show being great and then being entertaining. I don't know if I'd call this a greater installment than WrestleMania 30 or 31, but it certainly entertained the hell out of me. I liked a lot of the swerves and they made for moments, but the biggest gripe I had about WrestleMania 32 was that it didn't seem like WWE was thinking long-term. Reigns is champion, again. Undertaker is still around. The Authority is still around. Ambrose lost, again. The stuff with the women and Ryder were the only things that had me looking forward to the future (assuming Ryder doesn't immediately lost the title). I lost my mind for all the returns, but most of those guys won't be around for the long haul. What about the current roster? That was my takeaway from this event. As an experience, it was enjoyable. Ask me again in six months where I stand on this show because it's all about the aftermath it would seem.
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