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Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania 36 (Part I) Review

April 4, 2020 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania 36 (Part I) Review  

Csonka’s WWE WrestleMania 36 (Part I) Review

– Cesaro defeated Drew Gulak @ 4:30 via pin [**¾]
WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss defeated Champions The Kabuki Warriors @ 15:00 via pin [***]
– Elias defeated King Corbin @ 9:01 via pin [**]
Raw Women’s Title Match: Champion Becky Lynch defeated Shayna Baszler @ 8:50 via pin [***]
IC Title Match: Champion Sami Zayn defeated Daniel Bryan @ 9:30 via pin [**¾]
Smackdown Tag Team Title Ladder Match: Champions John Morrison defeated Kofi Kingston & Jimmy Uso @ 18:40 [****]
– Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins @ 16:00 via pin [***¼]
Universal Title Match : Braun Strowman defeated Champion Goldberg @ 2:44 via pin [NR]
Bone Yard Match: Undertaker defeated AJ Styles @ 18:45 via burial [****]

– Follow all of my reviews at this link.

Drew Gulak vs. Cesaro: Gulak looks to ground things early on, but Cesaro overpowers him and picks up a near fall. Gulak counters the Gotch and works an arm bar until Cesaro powerbombs his way out. Gulak counters back, gets the crossface but Cesaro makes the ropes. Gulak follows with the apron lariat to the floor, and Gulak has targeted the arm, slamming Cesaro to the steps. Gulak is fired up here and heads up top and flies into an uppercut; Cesaro covers for 2. He follows with knee strikes but Gulak sunset flips him and that gets 2. Cesaro counters the Gu-lock, and hits the no hands airplane spin for the win. Cesaro defeated Drew Gulak @ 4:30 via pin [**¾] I really enjoyed this, both guys are great and delivered a short, but fun and energetic outing. It was likely better to keep it short in the empty arena setting, but I wanted more and hope we get a longer match in the future.

– Stephanie McMahon welcomes us to the show.

– We open with an America the Beautiful montage with the various stars that have performed at Mania.

– GRONK welcomes us the show, hyping the two night Mania spectacular. Mojo arrives and is hyped and GRONK chops him a few times.

– Cole & … JBL are on Smackdown commentary. At least it’s not Sam Roberts.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Champions The Kabuki Warriors vs. Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss: Bliss and Asuka begin, until Asuka dances and tags out to Sane. She plays around, Bliss slaps her and slams her down. Nikki tags in and works a sleeper, until Asuka tags in and they lay the boots to her. Asuka is basically doing running commentary as they trade, Bliss in and they brawl to the as Bliss hits a senton to the floor. High cross by Nikki and the challenger are in control. Sane & Nikki tag in as Sane gets dumped, pulls Nikki to the floor as they all fight on the floor. Back in as the champions isolate Nikki, and Asuka talks mad shit. Sane joins in and double teams follow. Nikki battles back, tag to Bliss and she takes control until Asuka joins in and Sane follows with the draping double stomp for 2. Asuka back in and lays the boots to Bliss, and grounds things. Sane joins in and Asuka follows with the ass attack and knee strike for 2. Bliss counters back and then eats a head kick. Wholesale changes to Sane & Nikki, with Nikki running wild and following with the high cross for 2. Sane rakes the eyes, Asuka tags in and Nikki cuts her off with the purge as Sane hits the insane elbow. Asuka lock on Nikki, but Bliss hits twisted Bliss, spear by Sane, Nikki cuts her of up top and Asuka tags in, and the doomsday device gets 2. Sane dumps Bliss and Asuka gets posted as Nikki hits the purge and Twisted Bliss finishes it. Nikki Cross & Alexa Bliss defeated Champions The Kabuki Warriors @ 15:00 via pin [***] It may have been a bit too long and there were some obvious editing cuts, but it was fun and Nikki’s performance was really good. I enjoyed this overall.

– Sami promos on his match with Bryan, and will leave IC Champion.

– Corbin of course has to talk, and runs down Elias after trying to kill him on Smackdown. He will win tonight and demands the ref countout Elias and award him the match. Elias is alive and arrives,

Elias vs. King Corbin: They brawl on the floor, guitar shot by Elias and he kicks the shit out of Corbin. We officially start and Elias continues his attack, choking out Corbin. Corbin dumps him and then posts him back in the ring, covering for 2. He follows with strikes, the Bossman lariat and covers for 2. Corbin targets the injured shoulder of Elias, posting him again. Corbin yells a lot to make noise, but Elias counters back and posts him. Elias takes control and follows with strikes and kicks. Drift away follows for 2. The top rope elbow drop misses, but he rolls through, and Corbin hits deep six and for 2. Elias counters with the knee strike and that gets 2. Corbin cheap shots and cradles Elias with the ropes, but the ref sees it. Elias rolls him up with the tights for the win. Elias defeated King Corbin @ 9:01 via pin [**] This was ok, Elias gets revenge, but it will likely continue on.

– Becky arrives in her big rig.

– Tom & Byron are on Raw commentary.

Raw Women’s Title Match: Shayna Baszler vs. Champion Becky Lynch: They brawl, spill to the floor as Shayna dominates early on until Becky counters back and slams Shayna the announce table and steps. Back in and Becky heads up top and follows with the missile dropkick. She lays the boots to Shayna, but Shayna cuts her off with the knee strike but Becky cradles her for 2. Shayna follows with a suplex for 2, but Becky hits a knee strike and to the apron, they trade until Becky hits a uranage and rolls her in, covering for 2. Becky is frustrated, and heads to the ropes. Shayna cuts her off and slams her to the mat, and into the arm bar and pulls a disarmher. The knee strike follows as Becky escapes and that gets 2. Becky stuns her off the ropes, and locks on the disarmher in the ropes until Shayna counters into the hanging choke. She repeatedly slams Becky to the announce table and back in, Shayna counters into the choke, drags Becky down but Becky pulls a Bret hart and counters into a stacked pin for the win. Champion Becky Lynch defeated Shayna Baszler @ 8:50 via pin [***] They worked a well laid out and physical match, with good struggle ad fight to it, and I thought that it played well, but I think the result was absolutely the wrong one… UNLESS Ronda IS coming back.

IC Title Match: Champion Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan: Gulak, Nak, & Cesaro are at ringside. Sami stalls and powders. We’ve killed two-minutes as Bryan chases, and gets distracted by Cesaro. Nak now holds off Bryan and Sami runs some more. Back in and back to the floor. Gulak takes out Nak & Cesaro, they brawl and Gulak dumps them into the non-crowd. Sami tries to take a walk, but Bryan attacks and beats his ass. Back in, Sami begs off and Bryan pummels him with ground and pound. He follows with grounded kicks. strikes and the missile dropkick connects. Bryan grounds him, hits crossface strikes and the corner dropkick. Sami cries and begs off ass Bryan follows with knee strikes. Sami cheap shots him and finally attacks, slapping Bryan around and Bryan just fires up. he follows with clotheslines, kicks, and stomps the shit out of him. Gulak fires Bryan and then gets attacked and ran into the steps. Bryan takes out Cesaro & Nak, but flies into a helluva kick and Sami retains. Champion Sami Zayn defeated Daniel Bryan @ 9:30 via pin [**¾] This was going along well, Sami was getting his comeuppance, and even with the stalling I thought was fun… until we got the cliché style TV finish, which just felt so flat and anticlimactic.

Smackdown Tag Team Title Ladder Match: Champions John Morrison vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso: They work into a fun stretch of counters to begin. They all grab ladders and climb, Jimmy is dumped but then pulls Morrison down, high cross by Kofi and Morrison cuts him off with the running knee strike. He works over Jimmy, works into counters with Kofi as Jimmy & Kofi climb. Kofi dumps Jimmy, Morrison joins him on the ladder and dumps Kofi until Jimmy cuts him off. Jimmy & Morrison dump Kofi, Morrison eye pokes Jimmy and hits him with a ladder. Morrison lays Jimmy on a ladder and follows wit ha corkscrew dive onto him. he climbs, but Kofi springboards in and hits something looking like a RANA and both had a rough landing. Kofi follows with a dive, Jimmy runs along the barricade and Kofi cuts him off, makes a ladder bridge and lays Jimmy onto it. Morrison up top, Kofi cuts him off and heads up top, Morrison walks the ropes over to Kofi (does he think he’s Elix Skipper?) and hits a Spanish fly into the ring. Big Uce by Jimmy and everyone is down. Jimmy & Kofi climb, Kofi gets dumped and climbs under the ladder and knocks Jimmy off. Morrison joins him and they trade in top of the ladder, Morrison dumped and Kofi double stomps him off of the ladder. Kofi clears the ring, they make a ladder bridge in the ring and Jimmy cuts off Kofi, slams him to the ladder and superkicks Morrison onto the ladder. Jimmy climbs another ladder, but Morrison dumps him off and to the floor. Morrison climbs, but Kofi is alive and returns. They battle on the top, Jimmy is also alive and adds in another ladder. They all brawl, fight over the titles and Morrison is knocked off the ladder onto the bridge and came away with the titles to retain. Champions John Morrison defeated Kofi Kingston & Jimmy Uso @ 18:40 [****] The effort was there, I have great respect for these three to do all that shit without the adrenaline rush of a crowd response and make it something worth watching is a credit to them. The finish was kind of shitty/lame/flat, but I thought that this was quite great.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins: Seth backs off and Cheap shots Kevin before powdering. They brawl to the floor and back in, Kevin takes control with strikes, clotheslines and the senton. He hits another and talks shit as Seth powders. They brawl to the floor as Kevin controls, slamming Seth to the barricades. To the apron and Seth counters into a backdrop. He then does the deal with the falcon arrow on the apron and no one kicks out of the falcon arrow on the floor, as there are no pins there. The suicide dive follows, Seth shit talks Kevin and hits another. Kevin cuts off the third but eats sling blade. Kevin counters blackout and follows with the DDT. The superkick and cannonball connects and he heads up top. The swanton follows for 2. They work into counters, lariat by Kevin and both men are down. They work up top and Seth rakes the eyes and hits the sunset bomb buckle bomb, superkick and another. Kevin counters blackout into the pop up powerbomb and that gets 2. Seth tries to run and hits Kevin with the ring bell for the lame WrestleMania DQ; this feud must continue… as Kevin calls him a bitch and wants to finish this match in a NO DQ setting. Seth accepts, takes control and dumps Kevin. He beats him with the steps, chairs and clears off the announce table. Kevin hits him with the bell, does it again and lays him on the table. He climbs up into the Mania set and flies to put Seth through the table. Back in and the stunner finishes it. Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins @ 16:00 via pin [***¼] I think the faux DQ was a poor choice as they were building a really god match. If you wanted to morph into a NO DQ match, they should have just booked that instead. The stuff after the restart was far from bad and Kevin got the big “Mania moment,” but I felt it unnecessarily disrupted the great flow that they originally had and didn’t add as much to the match as they likely thought it did. Overall it was good, but I think it would have been much better as a singular No DQ match than the shitty faux DQ and restart, because they really over thought the booking here. And that’s a shame because these guys worked too hard to have bad creative hold them back.

– Mojo & GRONK are interrupted by Truth, Mojo stops GRONK and wins the 24/7 title.

– Heyman arrives and says that Drew will be Brock’s bitch tomorrow night.

Universal Title Match: Champion Goldberg vs. Braun Strowman: They circle, talk shit, Goldberg attacks, misses the spear but then hits one. Hits another and the third gets 2. Spear. Braun counters the jackhammer into a powerslam, hits another and another. One more finishes it. Braun Strowman defeated Champion Goldberg @ 2:44 via pin [NR] Well, Braun FINNALLY won the big one, and got to look good in terms of surviving and overcoming Goldberg to do so. How long will it last? Is it too late? Who the hell knows, but we’ll find out going forward. I think this was what it needed to be and came away as the right call to make.

Bone Yard Match: Undertaker vs. AJ Styles: We’re going to Undertaker’s Bone Yard, or, Michelle McCool’s favorite vacation spot. Styles arrives in a hearse and comes out of a coffin to callout Taker. Taker comes rollin, roillin, rollin in on his hog. Hog I said not dong. Styles talks shit about digging Taker’s grave, and calls him an old man. Taker attacks, talking shit to Styles and slamming him to the coffin. He misses a spike shot, breaking the window on the hearse and his arm is bleeding now. He slams Styles onto the windshield, they fight on top of the hearse and Taker pummels him for talking about Michelle. Styles battles back with a low blow and they trade as Taker knocks Styles into the grave. The Good Brothers arrive and they are joined by a bunch of I guess druids. They mistakenly attack one at a time, kung fu movie style so taker fights them off until the Good Brothers attack. Taker kicks their asses, hits them with shovels and Styles hits him with a tombstone, not the move, a tombstone. Styles then spears him through a wall and monologues about Taker not having it any more. Styles continues to attack and calls him a broken down old bitch. He grabs a shovel, nails him and dumps him in the grave. He uses a mini bulldozer and looks to bury him, but Taker appears behind him and kicks his ass, Styles runs away onto a roof and Taker follows. Taker summons fire and boots Styles, beats up the Good Brothers and tosses Gallows off the roof, tombstones Karl and Styles keeps fighting until he’s chokeslammed off the roof. Taker talks shit to Styles’ broken corpse and takes him to the grave as Styles begs of and tells him he’s sorry. Taker says he fought his ass off and hugs him… and kicks him into the grave. Taker then buries him in the grave to win. Undertaker defeated AJ Styles @ 18:45 via burial [****] I loved Lucha Underground, love Grind House films and dig wacky shit like this. Your mileage will vary on something like this, but when it was over, I felt like this was WWE’s best effort is doing something similar to the broken universe/Lucha Underground. It was way better than I had anticipated and better than a regular match between these two could have had at this stage. The production was great, they really leaned into the gimmick, and you really have to in order to make something like this work. Hell, AJ got to main event a Mania to boot. It’s kind of hard to rate something like this, but since I thought it was actually great, and for me **** is great, that’s what it gets.

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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 103. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Mark Radulich preview this weekend’s WrestleMania 36 shows, while Steve Cook joins to talk AEW vs. NXT (4.01.20). The show is approximately 178–minutes long.

* Intro
* WrestleMania 36 Preview: 14:00
* AEW (4.01.20) Review: 1:51:51
* NXT (4.01.20) Review: 2:23:40
* The head to head comparison: 2:45:48

* iTunes
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

The final score: review Good
The 411
There are a lot of people that will shit on the show just to shit on it, and I myself had concerns going in for many reasons. I’ve even seen people call this a worst show of all time candidate. That is an extreme exaggeration. When all was said and done, I thought that night one of WrestleMania 36 was, against all odds, a good three hour show that I enjoyed, and that’s all I could ask for.