Friday, April 8, 2016

Wrestlemania 32 can only be looked at with disappointment

I had high hopes going into Wrestlemania 32. Last year's show had a lackluster card on paper, but it delivered quality wrestling match after match. This year the show started with a big surprise and ended with a resounding thud.

More than a few fans felt like Stardust after 7 hours of mostly mediocre action.
Image credit: WWE.com.
The seven way Intercontinental title match opened the show as it did last year. Ladder strikes and crazy stunts ensued and fans quickly were reminded why ladder matches are always fun. Sin Cara's plunge outside onto Stardust is the stuff of highlight reels. And Zack Ryder's win, even if he would lose the title only a day later, definitely goes down as a shocking Wrestlemania moment. Unfortunately, it was the last one for quite some time.

Chris Jericho and AJ Styles put on another barnburner of a one on one match, with AJ's entrance being one of the first to really make the special stage look awesome. They went longer than the IC match and used every minute of it well, but ultimately it ended with Styles taking the loss in a strange booking decision. He and Jericho are now 2 and 2 in their series, so I expect a rubber match sometime in the near future, maybe even before Styles gets his title shot at Payback.


The League of Nations win over The New Day made little sense, even less so when it served as a setup for Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin to have some television time.

Brock Lesnar and Dean Ambrose did little of note in their rather disappointing street fight, saving the crazy weapon spots for the Hell in a Cell match.

Snoop Dogg's remix of Sasha's song was a highlight of the night's spectacles.
Image credit: WWE.com.
The Women's Title Match was probably the best women's match in the history of Wrestlemania and the loss of the Divas name was a smart move by an evolving WWE. But what could have been a great moment for the division was besmirched a bit by Ric Flair's involvement in the match's end. Even if Charlotte was going to win the title, she should have done it by her own nefarious tactics, rather than have a man involved in the finish of what was supposed to be the finest moment for women's wrestling in WWE history.

Match of the night went to a semi-retired icon versus the aging son of the company owner who hadn't wrestling in over half a decade. Perhaps that is the greatest mark of what was wrong with Wrestlemania 32, but nonetheless Shane McMahon and Undertaker put on a classic Hell in a Cell. Brutal strikes, awesome submissions, weapon spot after weapon spot and finally the insane dive from the top of the cage all made this the true highlight of the night. These two men put on the main event. Unfortunately for WWE, they planned another hour of programming after it.

The Andre the Giant Battle Royal was nothing spectacular, but it did serve to cement Baron Corbin to the main roster, even if his seeming respect for Andre seemed against his NXT character completely.

The Rock set a Wrestlemania record with his six second win over Erick Rowan, but really the segment with him and John Cena laying waste to the Wyatt Family seemed to help no one in the long term. But that wasn't the point. The point was to try and artificially create a moment, which really didn't work well at all.

Still it worked better than the plodding, nearly half hour main event. After a great entrance for Triple H (as usual), it was all downhill. Careful viewers could see the camera switching angles every time someone in the audience rose from their seat to leave. I sat through the entire monstrosity silently hoping for a turn that never came. Instead Reigns won his third WWE World Heavyweight title and fans' boos were muted by WWE as the show came to an end.

I am not saying that Wrestlemania 32 had no highlights. It's definitely not the worst Wrestlemania by any means, but it was often a plodding mess that did little to serve its current superstars not named Roman Reigns. And even he did nothing to cement his legacy in a match that saw Triple H work as the clear audience favorite. Miscue after miscue cost WWE in its night of nights and many fans went home disappointed.

I watched four wrestling events during WRESTLEMANIA WEEKEND. And none were nearly as weak as Wrestlemania itself. Really in the end, that is all that needs to be said.

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