wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s WWE WrestleMania 39 Night One Review

April 2, 2023 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Rey Mysterio WrestleMania 39 Image Credit: WWE
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
Pantoja’s WWE WrestleMania 39 Night One Review  

WWE WrestleMania 39 Night One

April 1st, 2023 | SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California | Attendance: 80,497

Ended up home in time to catch this, so that’s sweet.

“America the Beautiful” was gun by the lovely Becky G. The intro itself was hosted by Kevin Hart.

The Miz started things in the ring alongside Hall of Famer Snoop Dogg.

WWE United States Championship: Austin Theory [c] vs. John Cena

Cena’s entrance had several Make-A-Wish kids involved which was cool. Wild to think that Cena won his first US Title at Mania nearly 20 years ago. The early exchanges kept things relatively simple with the idea being that Theory spent years studying Cena after idolizing him. He made sure to talk trash throughout as well. Theory got too cocky and it opened the door for Cena to apply the STF though Theory survived. Whenever Cena really got something going, Theory had an answer and had him well scouted. Cena still got his rally, with hair as frazzled as ever, and went into the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, which got a great reaction. He made Theory tap to the STF but the referee was down. Theory used that to his advantage, hit a low blow, and won with his finisher in 11:20. A solid way to start the show and nothing more. Appreciate one finisher being enough. [**¾]

Alpha Academy vs. Braun Strowman and Ricochet vs. The Street Profits vs. The Viking Raiders

These “showcase” matches being on the card is weird. I get that it gets people onto Mania but they feel random and you could’ve just done the battle royals. Also, I have to point out the stupidity of multi-team matches where only two men are legal. AEW, New Japan, WWE all do it though STARDOM doesn’t seem to, so that’s good. Everyone indeed got some time to shine, including the Raiders and Valhalla or whatever her name is these days posing forever after a spot allowing Braun to take them out. Then we got the true highlight of Gable hitting Braun with a German suplex. I did groan at the tower of doom spot. It’s so overdone and we rarely get a unique twist on it. On the flip side, Braun’s running shoulder block spot getting cut off by Dawkins LAYING him out was sick. That was followed by cool moments of a Ricochet springboard SSP, Dawkins getting his knees up on an SSP inside and Ford hitting him with a frog splash to end it in 8:27. An absolute blast of a clusterfuck. I expected good fun in a mostly meaningless match and that’s what I got. [***¾]

Logan Paul vs. Seth Rollins

Logan Paul got a Shawn Michaels style entrance where he was on a crane of sorts. He hung tough with Seth to start, even launching him over the top as he did in the Royal Rumble. He overwhelmed Seth and had him on his heels, holding service for the first few minutes. The tide turned when Logan missed a Best Moonsault Ever and Seth reeled off some offensive including his signature tope suicida. We got some close calls inside until Logan seemingly knocked Seth out with a right hand. He took too long to cover though and only got two. Logan came out with someone dressed as a PRIME Energy drink and he pulled Logan to safety at one point, revealing himself to be Logan’s buddy KSI. As Logan set up for a frog splash through the announce table, they wasted time talking smack. Seth pulled KSI into position for the spot and hit a Pedigree inside that only got two. Paul busted out a Go to Sleep and frog splash for a close fall. Seth came back with the Curb Stomp and won in 16:16. As expected, that delivered. Logan Paul isn’t my favorite person but he’s a hell of a pro wrestler who just gets it. Everything looks smooth and nothing is awkward. Seth continues to be the best. [****]

Becky Lynch, Lita and Trish Stratus vs. Damage CTRL

Legitimately six of my favorite female wrestlers in history. Dakota Kai not only gets her first main Mania match but she gets to do it against Trish and Lita. The comic book intro for the faces was pretty sick. The teams brawled before the bell leading to a Becky tope suicida before things went inside and we got our opening bell. Bayley handled the bulk of this for obvious reasons, getting isolated by Damage CTRL. Bayley stopping to taunt Lita and Trish nearly allowed for the tag but Trish got pulled off the apron. The mild tag went to Lita who didn’t hit her moves in the cleanest of ways and looked awkward out there. Lita took a short heat before tagging to Trish who sported gear that was similar to her WM 21 attire. She looked great out there and like she hadn’t really missed a beat. She and Lita even hit Poetry in Motion. A finisher barrage came soon after to set up an IYO SKY moonsault to the outside. Everyone went at it inside and Lita did her moonsault on IYO and Dakota, leaving Bayley alone. She took a Bret’s rope Manhandle Slam to lose in 14:38. That was a fun tag that got a lot of time. I do wish Damage CTRL would finally win anything though or just break up tbh. That overdelivered. [***½]

Dominik Mysterio vs. Rey Mysterio

Dominik got a Prison Dom intro complete with a video package, police escort, and he wore his dad’s mask to the ring. Meanwhile, Rey was driven out by Snoop Dogg and played a sample of Eddie Guerrero’s theme. 10/10 presentation. Rey even had the padded Lucha Underground style mask. Rey taught his son a lesson at the start, even taking off his belt and whipping him. Dom hilariously went to his mom at ringside like “YOU GONNA LET HIM DO THAT TO ME?” He then threw a drink at Aalyah that helped him gain the upper hand.  After Dom had the advantage for a bit, he got slapped by his mother. THAT SHOULD’VE BEEN A DISQUALIFICATION. Priest and Bálor showed up for a closer look as well. The LWO ran in to even the odds and send them packing. Dom nailed the 619 and Frog Splash but Rey got his shoulder up. Dom attempted to cheat but Bad Bunny, who was on commentary, stopped him from doing so. That opened the door for Rey to get going and beat him with a Frog Splash in 14:29. Another highly enjoyable match with some quality sports entertainment throughout. [***¾]

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair [c] vs. Rhea Ripley

Their Performance Center Mania match RULED (****¼). My stopwatch might have some issues as my feed froze in the opening minute and the audio was way off so I had to close the app and re-open it. Upon return, they traded some insults and Rhea took control soon after. Rhea shouting “IS THIS YOUR QUEEN?” was a great moment. That took a while and was fun before Charlotte made her rally to a chorus of boos. She did hit some impressive stuff, as usual, like a sweet fallaway slam/suplex hybrid but then Rhea upped her with a sick avalanche German. She nearly died on it and then took a German shortly after where she literally landed on her face. It looked brutal on the replay. Charlotte worked this match as a heel and I think that benefitted it. It’s when she’s at her best and the crowd was pro-Rhea anyway. Rhea delivered Riptide for a telegraphed near fall and Charlotte got one on an inside cradle. Rhea applied the Prism Trap submission but Charlotte clawed to the ropes to break it in a cool spot. They fought to the top where Rhea won with an avalanche Riptide in 23:32. Phenomenal match. Probably only behind Sasha/Bianca for the best women’s match in Mania history. Charlotte working heel was the right move and she remains a great big match wrestler (even if her character/gimmick is mid). Rhea is the present and future. [****½]

The Miz and Snoop Dogg had a segment in the ring to announce the attendance. Snoop made a joke about Miz not having a match and he said he issued a challenge but nobody answered. Cue Pat McAfee. He issued the challenge officially and Snoop hilariously made it official.

The Miz vs. Pat McAfee

Miz got beat up a bit and stopped to shove George Kittle at ringside. Kittle hopped over the guardrail as the referee was distracted and ate a clothesline. Pat added a senton to the outside and punted Miz to win in 3:35. Goofy fun. [NR]

WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship: The Usos [c] vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

What an incredible story this has been. Lil Uzi Vert performed to introduce The Usos. Owens and Zayn had the PWG gorilla on their attire which was a nice touch. Jimmy made Jey start so he could go up against Zayn. That worked out well, with Zayn getting isolated and that’s such a good role for him because he’s a top-tier underdog babyface. He made the hot tag to Owens earlier than expected, leading to a sick somersault senton outside. Of course, that was all to set up Owens as the next face in peril. Sami even busted out an apron Brainbuster similar to his old corner Brainbuster. Him getting the tag and hitting an Uso splash for two was a cool moment. Even after that, The Usos showed why they’re in the conversation for the best tag team ever, firing off a bunch of moves, talking trash, and holding serve. The superkick sandwich on Sami might’ve ended another match but Sami wasn’t going to die that easily. The Usos kept at it, destroying him with kicks until 1D got cut off. The Usos refused to give in, taking out Owens with a double spinebuster through the announce table, again leaving Sami alone. Sami then became the first person to kick out of 1D. Jey shouted at Sami to quit, emotional because HE CALLED SAMI HIS BROTHER and he then hit his own Helluva Kick. As Jey talked trash, Sami hit a corner T-Bone and made the tag to Owens for a Stunner near fall that everyone bit on. The teams stood across from each other in a dope moment before hockey fights began. Sami took out Jimmy and Owens gave him the big tag, setting up Sami vs. a downed Jey. Sami hit the Helluva Kick and Jey fell into his arms so he added a second. KO took out Jimmy with a Stunner and Sami added a third Helluva Kick to end the reign in 24:16. Words can’t do this justice. I was emotional throughout as someone who loved Steen and Generico since 2007. They delivered an epic match fitting of the main event but when you add in the storytelling elements from the close calls to the callbacks between Sami and Jey especially, you’ve got something special. Something special and something perfect. [*****]

The final score: review Virtually Perfect
The 411
A few years ago, I gave this score to WrestleMania 35 and people were big mad that I considered it the best Mania ever. I still believe that’s the case but if night two delivers, this Mania could topple it. The worst thing on this show was a solid little US Title match. Everything else gets a recommendation from me in terms of quality but then it gets boosted by moments like the Rey/Dom entrances, the main event storytelling, Rhea’s coronation, etc.

article topics

Kevin Pantoja