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Csonka’s WrestleMania 32 Review 4.03.16

April 4, 2016 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s WrestleMania 32 Review 4.03.16  

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Csonka’s WrestleMania 32 Review 4.03.16

WWE US Title Match: Champion Kalisto defeated The Ryback @ 8:58 via pin [**½]
– Natalya, Paige, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie and Brie Bella defeated Lana, Tamina, Naomi, Emma and Summer Rae @ 11:25 via submission [**¼]
– The Usos defeated The Dudley Boyz @ 5:20 via pin [**]
WWE Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Zack Ryder won the IC Title @ 15:30 [****]
– Chris Jericho defeated AJ Styles @ 17:10 via pin [**¾]
– The League of Nations defeated New Day @ 10:07 via pin [**]
No Holds Barred Street Fight: Brock Lesnar defeated Dean Ambrose @ 13:00 via pin [**¾]
WWE Women’s Title Match: Champion Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch @ 16:07 via submission [****]
Hell in the Cell Match: Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon @ 30:10 via pin [**]
– Baron Corbin won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal @ 9:47 []
WWE Title Match: Roman Reigns defeated Champion Triple H @ 27:05 via pin [**]

– There is almost no one in the building, and according to live reports, the scene at the Jerry Dome is a fucking mess in terms of trying to get in. Apparently there were issues with the wireless ticket check in gimmick being down.

WWE US Title Match: Champion Kalisto vs. The Ryback: They are still having a ton of entry issues, and there is not many people in the building. I am not the biggest fan of this match, but it sucks for these guys. They did the expected back and forth, playing off of the size difference because Ryback big, Kalisto small. Yes, we took the old WWE Network commercial break during this. Ryback had control post break, working the heat and giving Kalisto small hope spots. Kalisto countered a superplex spot into a high cross for a near fall, which angered Ryback. Kalisto countered shell shock, and hit a spike RANA for a near fall. Ryback tried to drag Kalisto out of the corner, leading to Kalisto accidentally pulling the buckle off as he tried to fight back. This led to Ryback missing a charge, hitting the exposed buckle and Kalisto hitting the Salaida Del So to retain. That was a rock solid opener, Kalisto bumped great for Ryback and the big guy worked hard; the commercial hurt the flow and it just felt as if they were not set up to do anymore than they did. and I wish Kalisto had won in a more decisive way, but judging by the finish this feud will continue.

Natalya, Paige, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie and Brie Bella vs. Lana, Tamina, Naomi, Emma and Summer Rae: The gear and hair games are Mania worthy. They worked for a bit, Alicia Fox dominated Summer for a bit and they all ten were in, and we took a commercial break. Eva got some wild heat when we came back; she did perfectly fine despite the fans hating her. She had some attitude issues with her team, Natalya tagged in and Naomi worked the speedball kicks. Later Paige and Natalya used the Hart Attack, which was cool. Team Lana worked the heat on Paige, Lana did come in for a short period and did some kicks, but not much else. Paige fought back and hit a high cross to the floor, but got cut off when looking for the tag. After another short heat segment, they finally got the hot tag to Brie, good reaction for her and she hit the Bella buster, Lana made the save and then it broke down into the signature move buffet. EVERYONE GET YOUR SHIT IN! It came down to Brie and Naomi, Naomi sort of misses the split legged moonsault, commentary said that Brie got a foot up. Brie went up top, Lana knocked her off, but Brie overcame, did a sweet transition and got the yes lock and Naomi tapped. Nikki arrived, in gear and neck brace, to celebrate with the winners. They then held Brie on her shoulders as a nice goodbye moment. They smartly hid Lana and Eva, they got time, the crowd reacted well and it came off better than I thought. I feared it would be short, with them rushing through everything leading to a mess. Thankfully that did not happen, and it was another rock solid match.

– You really appreciate the scope of the venue when you see the cell hanging in there and it looks so tiny.

– Lita is in he ring, and she spoke about the former women’s champions and that they paved the way for a whole new division. Lita praised efforts of the women in the previous match and hypes the triple threat later in the night. She said that the women of today are WWE super stars, and is there to present the new WWE Women’s Championship. Good deal. Renee Young totally buried the old belt as the pre-show rolled on. In press material sent out, they stressed that this was a new beginning, and that the women would also be defined as “Superstars” going forward.

The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz: They all brawled at the bell, and the Dudleyz took control right away as they isolated Jimmy. Typical Dudleyz heat that they’ve been working, slow clubbing offense with a lot of yelling. Jimmy finally hit a superkick and Jey got the tag. His run didn’t last as the Dudleyz hit the wazzup heat but, and looked for the tables but were cut off by superkicks. Devon countered the top rope splash, hit the double team neck breaker and then Jimmy cut off the 3D try with superkicks. Another superkick to Devon finished things off, very anticlimactic ending. That was a big pile of MEH. Post match the Dudleyz attacked, got tables but the Usos fought back and placed the Dudleyz on the tables. The Usos then put them through the tables with top rope splashes. This was every Dudley Boyz TV tag since they returned.

I LOVE NEW GEAR NIGHT! Stardust with the Dusty tribute and Sin Cara going all Mistico were great.

WWE Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: Champion Kevin Owens vs. The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara: Despite the way it got here, I am so happy for these guys. We got some Zayn vs. Owens early, it didn’t last long and we got to the ladders involved rather quickly. Tons of moving parts here, with bodies flying to the floor and Zayn hitting an awesome dive Through the ladder onto the pile and then the corner through the ropes dive into a DDT onto Owens. Another great spot was Cara climbing, the ladder getting shoved over, leading to him springing off the ropes into a sweet senton onto (sorta, they didn’t really catch him) the pile on the floor. STARDUST PULLED OUT A POLKA DOTTED LADDER! He then did the spinning Terry Funk spot with it, TEXAS! Owens then placed Zayn on a ladder, angled on the bottom rope, and hit a wild frog splash. There was lots of great stuff happening here, with everyone getting a chance to shine. Stardust got laid on a ladder bridge between the ring and barricade, and Owens toppled the ladder and Cara flew out onto Stardust. Yeah, these guys are killing themselves. It came down to Owens and Zayn battling it out on the ladder, they fought to the mat and Zayn KILLED Owens with a half and half suplex onto a ladder. THAT MAN HAS A FAMILY! Miz stopped Zayn from climbing to HUGE heat, he climbed but took his time and Ryder returned and tossed him off and RYDER WINS! Ryder got to celebrate with his dad in the ring as well, that’s fucking awesome for him. This had a great pace, everyone busted their assed, got to shine and was simply a ton of fun. That was a great way to kick off the PPV.

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles: Styles has spiffy new red, white and black gear. We got solid back and forth to begin, with Styles frustrating Jericho and even using Jericho’s springboard dropkick. Jericho took control, Styles fought back with a series of strikes and then connected with the dropkick. Styles would escape the walls, and then hit a sloppy asai DDT for a near fall. They did a lot of back and forth, playing off of their previous matches, which is appreciated but the match felt as if it was lacking some energy. They did a super gourd buster spot, Jericho then countered the PELE into the walls of Jericho. Styles countered into the calf killer, but Jericho escaped. They teased the clash, Jericho countered and then caught Styles with the code breaker, but only got a near fall. Jericho then teased the clash, but Styles countered out and that led to a near fall. They then did a series of counters, leading to Styles getting the clash for a near fall. Styles then hit the springboard 450, and that got a near fall. Jericho then pulled the ref in the way to stall Styles, countered the springboard forearm into a code breaker to score the anticlimactic win. This was a match where Jericho got “Triple H Syndrome,” he wanted to lay out a classic, but overestimated his planning and it failed. The match felt labored at times, and honestly went too long. I kept waiting for it to get good, hell I was hoping for an epic; what I got was went too long, some finisher kick outs, the wrong winner and a disappointment overall. Not bad, just a disappointment.

– Maria Menounos interviewed Zack Ryder, who gave an emotional promo about winning the IC title and living his dream.

New Day vs. The League of Nations w/King Barrett: New Day actually poured out of a giant box of BootyO’s, dressed in Sayian Armour from Dragon Ball Z. And this is now a six-man tag, with Barrett the odd man out. New Day got the unicorn stampede early and got the crowd into things, and then the League got the advantage and I ate some pasta salad. No one cares about the League, no matter how many times JBL tries to compare them to the Horsemen. You’re drunk JBL, go home. The League worked over Woods for what felt like forever, I’d say they got the heat but there was none. Kofi finally got the tag, he ran wild and leg dropped Rusev and Sheamus at the same time. Sheamus countered trouble in paradise, tried for the cloverleaf, Kofi fought and then Rusev put a stop to that. They are using the big screen to try and get the fans to cheer for this, and it’s not working.

Big E then hit the spear through the ropes on all three opponents. Woods hit a double stomp on Sheamus for a near fall, Del Rio then returned and took out Woods. He hit a double stomp to Kofi who was on the apron. Barrett hit Woods with the bull hammer and Sheamus got the Brogue kick for the win. That’s the typical raw finish we see every week. It was a snooze-fest.

– Barrett cut a post match promo, noting that no three-man unit could go face to face with them. Shawn Michaels then appeared… IN GEAR. He was joined by Mick Foley and Steve Austin. New Day pulled Barrett to the floor and team Legends beat up the League of Nations. Socko, superkick and a stunner with an awesome Rusev sell. Barrett then ate socko, a superkick and stunner to send him into free agency. The good news is that the crowd loved that. The bad news is that you had New Day LOSE at Mania so that you could then sacrifice the League to the legends. Austin also gave Woods a stunner. Listen, I know it’s just “the League of Nations,” but segments like this are part of the reason that the current roster has issues getting over. And this is where people will say, “It’s Mania, just have fun, there’s no harm.” And if you HAD to do it, you couldn’t at least sub Hayes for Foley to play off of the HOF and Dallas and have him plant someone with a DDT? But for real, ask yourself, “who was that segment designed to help?” It sure wasn’t the regular roster guys.

No Holds Barred Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman: Lesnar attacked right away and hit his first German suplex at 11 seconds in. It’s going to be a long night for Ambrose. Ambrose used a kendo stick, which just pissed off Lesnar, who rag dolled Ambrose with Germans. Lesnar teased using a weapon, broke it and connected with more suplexes. Lesnar actually dared Ambrose to get a kendo stick he laid in the ring, so Ambrose low blowed him and beat him with the stick. He hit a dive and then tried to use his chainsaw, which against Lesnar is not a bad idea at all. Ambrose used a laptop and a chair, but the machine ran up the ropes and hit a release suplex off the ropes. This led to Ambrose using a fire extinguisher, he then went back to chair shots and then a chair assisted wacky elbow drop for a near fall. Ambrose tossed a bunch of chairs into the ring, Lesnar hit a suplex but he landed on chairs during it. Ambrose then countered the F5 into a DDT on the chairs for another near fall. And now, it was time for the barbed wire baseball bat. Only Lesnar wanted no part of that, and hit a German and then the F5 onto the pile of chairs to pick up the win. That was a bit under whelming, overall t was good but it almost felt incomplete. I get booking Brock to win, but in doing that you have to craft a story where Ambrose fights his ass off and looks as if he can win, and then Lesnar has to completely murder death kill him to win. Ambrose did survive some stuff, but then Brock just won. It was a match, it was fine, it didn’t help Ambrose all that much and like Jericho vs. Styles, I came away disappointed. I was hoping for them to book a more compelling story for Ambrose, considering how much they lean on him, especially due to the injuries. The good news was that the Wyatts never appeared.

– The new Hall of Famers make their appearance for the live crowd.

– Snoop and Raven Fenix performed Sahsa’s theme, the chick was horribly pitchy and not very good at all. Sasha also has Eddie Guerrero inspired gear. Charlotte is wearing robe, made with pieces of Ric’s Mania 24 robe. Becky got more steam and such, and her entrance felt bigger, but not a lot special to it.

WWE Women’s Title Match: Champion Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch: The opening minute was all three trading pining combos, leading to them trying to keep the pacing up and work some three-way spots. The action spilled to the floor for a bit, where Banks got taken out (in an odd spot between her and Charlotte that did not come off well), leaving Becky and Charlotte alone in the ring. Charlotte took the heat, tried to work the leg and then Banks returned only for Becky to toss her back over the top and to the floor. Banks got a great near fall off of a frog splash as Charlotte worked the figure four on Becky, it came off very well as a near submission moment. Banks hit meteora on Charlotte, but Becky then took out Banks and hit a uranage on Banks for the near fall as Charlotte made the save. Banks hit a suicide dive on Charlotte, she got a foot caught on the ropes but tucked and saved herself. Becky then hit a dive and took out Ric as Banks pulled him into it. That was creative and payback for Ric’s constant interference. Charlotte then said fuck it and hit a moonsault all the way to the floor onto both! Back in, Charlotte hit natural selection on both, but both kicked out of pin attempts. Charlotte posted Becky, Banks went for a RANA, Charlotte stopped that and they ended up doing a doomsday device spot, which was a little rough. Becky had Charlotte in disarmher, but Sasha broke it up and got the Banks statement. Charlotte then locked in the figure four on Banks, Becky escaped. Charlotte worked to keep the hold, and Becky ended up saving Banks. All three battled from their knees, Charlotte speared Banks and Lynch went on the attack. They battled up top, Banks into the tree of woe, and Lynch climbed and Becky got the superplex on Charlotte. Banks got the Bank statement, but Charlotte tossed her to the floor and got the figure eight on Becky and she tapped. Commentary informs us that Ric held Banks’ foot so she couldn’t get back in the ring. They needed to talk that up BEFORE the finish. Finish aside, because it feels like another “fuck you, that’s why” winner, they did a hell of a job; good pacing some creative spots and they largely stayed away from the triple threat formula that almost every triple threat falls into. The women’s match at Mania has always been a piss break, but they presented this well going in and all three busted ass to deliver and turn this show around after a string of disappointments action wise. With the added change to a “women’s title” and referring to them as superstars, this came off as an important moment as they say goodbye to one era and hello to a new one. This was some great stuff, and a much needed match at this point on the card.

– Shane’s kids came out and danced with him during his entrance. They then sat at ringside with the family, which likely means they are going for a Foley family gimmick later on.

Hell in the Cell Match: Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon: Shane played hit and move, trying to make Taker move around and to tire him out, which he previously talked about. Taker seemed more annoyed than hurt, and took control of things pretty quickly. Taker hit the last ride at about 5-minutes in, and got a near fall. Taker brought in the steps, but Shane got a desperation triangle choke, which slowed Taker down for a moment. He then chokeslammed Shane on the steps, and that got a near fall. Shane managed a DDT to Taker on the steps, and that got Shane a near fall at about 10-minutes in. Shane then survived hells gate very slowly turned it into the sharp shooter. Shane beat down Taker in the corner, got a trash can and then hit the Van Terminator for a near fall. Shane then got bolt cutters, and cut away at the cage. This of course led to Taker slamming Shane through the cage, and the panel gave way. Taker took apart announce tables and hit Shane with a monitor. There is a continent platform beside the one announce table, Shane countered the tombstone with a sleeper, so Taker broke it by jumping and putting both of them through the table. Shane then got a tool box and nailed Taker with it twice and laid him out on one of the tables. He also hit Taker with the monitor, and then climbed the cage. He jumped and Take moved, sending Shane crashing through the table (I don’t care how padded that was, dude is a 46 year old man that did not have to do that, it may have been stupid but I respect it). Cole actually yelled, “for the love of Mankind,” which was actually a great call. I am shocked that they did not show his kid’s reaction here. Taker got to his feet, and Shane called him on for more. Taker brought him back into the ring, hit the tombstone and that was that. So at the end of the day, Shane came back to take a big bump at Mania. The angle was lazy heading into it, and while I can appreciate a stunt show match, much like Lesnar vs. Ambrose, I wanted more drama out of this other than “OMG Shane may have died.” It also feels poorly done, as Shane tells us, “hey guys, the product is not good and I will save the day,” and then he loses. I don’t know, I can appreciate things, but Shane largely going even with Taker and surviving his finishes with out a ton of help via weapons or other people just did not work for me. The worst part is that the 46-year old son of he owner got to be more of a bad ass hero than Dean Ambrose did. It also felt way too long.

– Shane got stretchered out post match.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal: All of the usual goofs make their way out; Baron Corbin is out there and so is DDP and Tatanka. SHAQ is here to participate as well! Shaq and Show chokeslammed Kane, and then took turns tossing goofs like Fandango. After the others had bailed, they all returned and tossed both Shaq and Show after about two-minutes. Once that was done, it broke down into every bland battle royal you’ve ever watched. The Outcasts got some run, and then Corbin got to toss dudes before Kane hit him with the chokeslam. Baron Corbin then tossed Kane to win the match. Good on Corbin, Big Banter winning is great. It wasn’t any good, but cool that Corbin won. I’d love to say that they used the match to make a new star, but we all saw what happened after Cesaro’s win. Lets call it a good outcome and hope for the best.

– Mania heads to Orlando, FL next year.

– The Cowboy cheerleaders were brought out for a performance.

THE ROCK IS HERE TO DO SOMETHING: Rock came out and had a flame thrower, because why the fuck not, he’s the Rock. Dean Ambrose is backstage going, “so that’s where that went.” So Rock came out and gave what felt like a Saturday Night Live monologue. His sole purpose here was to announce 101,763 in attendance and that was that. We needed 10-minutes to do that. But wait, The Wyatts arrived. Basically Wyatt wants to kill Rock at Mania because Rock is famous and popular. Rock of course mocked and made fun of Wyatt, made marijuana, weight, breast feeding and inbreeding jokes. After his comedy set, Rock put over Wyatt, sorta. Rock challenged one of them to a match and had his gear on under his pants. He hit a rock bottom on Rowan and won “in six seconds.” The Wyatts went to attack, but John Cena arrived. They beat up the Wyatts, who were so dead in the water any way that it didn’t matter, but they still did it anyway. Well that was a great use of the Rock, gotta keep that kid strong.

– Stephanie was part of Triple H’s entrance, doing her bitch queen routine. Triple H came to the ring, no costume, but followed but dudes in skull masks holding title belts. Roman punched the stage and we got fireworks shooting from the Jerry dome.

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Champion Triple H vs. Roman Reigns: Roman Reigns is so upset with Triple H that he’s getting out grappled and acting way too calm. Show some fucking emotion, in storyline he fucked you our of the title and broke your damn face, you may want some revenge. The crowd hates Reigns, and so far this is feeling like Triple H vs. Orton at Mania 25, and that’s not good. Stephanie distracted the ref, Triple H kicked Reigns in the balls and got a God like pop for it. Reigns got next to no shine as Triple H took the heat, and he worked over Reigns and attacked the previously inured nose. He then mixed it up and hit a neck breaker on Reigns as Reigns was on the announce table and then placed him in the middle of the ropes and hit a knee off the second rope. This feels like a solid mid-card match 12-minutes in, not the WrestleMania main event. Reigns made a comeback, it was fine. They brawled to the floor, where Reigns slammed Triple H to the steps a few times, but then Triple H fought right back and slammed Reigns to the steps. At the 15 minute mark it dramatically slowed until Reigns hit a spear through the barricade (WWE main event trope #11). They got back to the ring, the crowd chanted for Nakamura as Triple H countered a spear into an arm bar, and then into a rings of Saturn variation. Triple H has been scouting Zack Sabre Jr. This is not actively bad, it’s just bland with a crowd that wouldn’t give a fuck to save either of these guy’s life. 19-minutes in Triple H is going grapple fuck like he’s working an Evolve main event with Catch Point, NO ONE CARES. I mean, when shit is not working you have to change directions, but they are doing the same shit with no intensity and having Reigns sell, and sell and sell; the issue is no one likes him, so having him babyface for so long kills the crowd. I am not saying that it’s “bad work,” it’s the wrong match and story to try and tell. 22-minutes in and the crowd in largely entertaining themselves. Stephanie pulled out the ref to stop a pin and then distracted the ref. She then got in the ring, which led to Reigns spearing her when Triple H moved. Triple H hit a pedigree for a near fall after that. The spear woke the crowd up as did the near fall. So they kept going, Stephanie handed Triple H a sledgehammer, but Reigns hit two Superman punches and a spear to win. An epic main event going 27 that felt like 47; Triple H was as stubborn as ever, trying to work his epic match formula that fails more often than not. At the end of the day the match is OK at best, but in the Mania main event spot, a complete disappointment. Also, it was funny watching them try to do the big hero’s celebration with the crowd either leaving or booing Reigns.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Ok, you need to watch the IC Title ladder match and the women’s title match. That’s it, they were high quality and very enjoyable matches, and they saved the show from being unwatchable. Everything else was either disappointing, a solid TV style match or just off putting due to the result. The pre-show stuff was fine, the IC Title match was awesome, Jericho and Styles was a disappointing match and had the wrong result as AJ should not have lost at his first Mania. The League of Nations and New Day had a bland and mediocre outing and were then afterthoughts because we had to make sure the legends got to look good at the expense of the full time employees. Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose was solid, but disappointing because the boss’s son got to play the role Ambrose should have played; the women worked their asses off to turn things around and did that for a segment. Taker vs. Shane was the get the big spot on the card after the match goes too long, it lacked the drama and never hooked me. The battle royal was fine and I loved Corbin winning. The main event was Triple H striving for an epic only to fall into mediocrity, something he’s done a bit in Mania mains. WrestleMania isn’t about creating stars or ending major stories any more, it’s about “moments” and what Vince wants, no matter how damaging they can be to the guys that are there 365. I doesn’t matter that New Day, the League of Nations and Wyatts all looked like shit, Stone Cold, HBK, Foley and The Rock looked cool. Add on top of it the bloated presentation, and this was a struggle to get through at times. There were way better options this weekend to pour your money into. I know, they set the attendance and gate record; well the Transformers movies suck, and just because they made billions doesn’t make them good or Michael Bay a genius.

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