wrestling / TV Reports

Stew’s WWE WrestleMania 39 Night One Review

April 2, 2023 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Usos WrestleMania 39 Image Credit: WWE

It’s so weird to me that Taylor Swift is far and away the most popular musical act in North America.

I mean, she’s fine. She’s FINE. She has some songs I like well enough, and she has a ton of songs that I heard, thought nothing of, and then went on with my life.

But she infamously has her tour going on where tickets to huge stadiums were instantly sold out, and the ability to get said tickets was near impossible. The availability–or lack thereof–for Taylor Swift tickets was BIG NEWS for a week or so there.

For the “Shake It Off” girl!

In my head, I have a hard time seeing Taylor Swift on the level of, like, a Madonna or a Lady Gaga or a Britney Spears or a Beyonce, but she clearly is! At least that level! And that’s weird. Maybe because when I think of Taylor Swift, I think of vanilla pudding. It’s good. It adds to some other foods! But by itself? I can think of a dozen more inspiring desserts. It’s just so… plain.

She has no personality to speak of. Like… I can’t picture her talking. Or even having anything of note to say. Those other four women I mentioned were beacons of charisma. They also weren’t afraid to be edgy. I can’t picture Taylor Swift pushing the envelope into a mailbox.

Why am I talking about Taylor Swift, though? In a WrestleMania article?

It because it’s me. Hi. I’m the problem; it’s me.

I just don’t care about WrestleMania this year, and I SHOULD because it looks like a very good card with some decent storylines. Some better than others, obviously, but the top-shelf ones are impeccable. And it’s HHH’s first WrestleMania in charge! He has to want to bring it.

So why the meh-ness from me?

I really have never gotten over the fact that we aren’t getting Sami/Roman on this show.

AND I KNOW, I KNOW. Don’t run to the comments yet to tell me what a baby I’m being! I know I’m being petulant. And the Sami/KO/Usos story has been a fantastic ride with great emotion. They’ve done the best they can. HHH clearly wants to tag titles and the US Title and the Intercontinental title to feel important again. Putting the most over guy in the company in one of those stories helps accomplish that!

But I really wanted Sami to get the biggest limelight possible. I wanted WWE to acknowledge how supernova hot he has been for the last few months. And that’s NOT to say I didn’t want Cody to be here; I wanted WWE to split up the world titles. I wanted two Roman matches to show his total crashing to earth after the last 900+ days. He’s unable to cope with a Night One loss, so he goes into Night Two devastated and off his game. I had it all built up in my head, man!

And, like I said… that’s on me. I’m my own problem here. I get it! I haven’t been excited for the road to WrestleMania, but I am up for the show now that it’s here!

What isn’t on me is the main event for night one. It HAS to be the tag title match, right? I keep hearing it’s probably going to be Charlotte/Rhea, and… whoof. God, I hope not.

Well, let’s see how the night shapes up!

7:13pm: Okay, after having been out all day since noon (lunch, seeing Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, shopping for a laptop for my wife), I am home with 47 minutes to spare! I was worried Mania might have started at 7pm, but… bullet dodged! And I have time to work on my next Buffy The Vampire Slayer review before we kick things off proper.

Have they announced the main event yet?

7:57pm: Okay, the last segment of the pre-show is the discussion of the tag title match, so that should mean it’s the main event, right? So all the Charlotte/Rhea stuff was just smoke and mirrors to distract us? Woo!

8:04pm: We are getting a Kevin Hart vignette before the show starts. What is his role here? I thought Miz was the host. So what is Kevin Hart? The vignette guy?

8:07pm: Snoop Dogg is a WWE Hall Of Famer! I forgot that. HEY, speaking of forgotten facts: anyone remember when he became Snoop Lion? Me, neither.

8:10pm: As announced, we are opening with Austin Theory vs John Cena. Theory out first. During his ring entrance, right before Col and Graves start talking, you can see a stage hand run across the set behind Theory. That guy would already be fired and humiliated if Vince still worked here.

8:12pm: Cena gets a vignette talking about his Make A Wish record and WWE’s standing with the company. Then we get a group of kids on stage for his ring entrance. God, what a dude. As Cena hits the ring, one kid yells “YOU BETTER WIN”, haha. This has already melted my cold, dead smark heart.

8:17pm: God bless Cena’s bald spot. It makes me feel better about myself. Am I older than or younger than Cena? Oh, he’s three-plus years older than I. And his bald spot is better than mine. NEVERMIND. I stopped feeling good.

8:24pm: Has Cena always been this pale? He looks like he has been locked in a cave all winter.

8:25pm: Haha, good ol’ Cena loudly calling matches. He basically just yelled “SLEEPER HOLD” as he whipped Austin into the ropes. I’ve always thought that critique of him was overblown, but when he does it, he really is super obvious.

8:28pm: Cena getting pinned after one finishing move AT WRESTLEMANIA. Who thought we would live to see the day? Not a good match at all, but it was all about seeing Cena and having him put over a young guy.

8:32pm: “WrestleMania Showcase Match” means “There is no story here, but we still had to fill time, so these guys get a paycheck!” it’s time for the Men’s Tag Team Fatal Fourway!

Titus O’Neil joins commentary for this.

8:36pm: I refuse to believe that The Street Profits (492) are within 100 pounds combined of The Viking Raiders (590), per the ring introductions. But I also think Dawk is a deceptively large dude, I guess.

8:41pm: Chad Gable hits his off-the-turnbuckles rolling German Suplex to Braun Strowman, and he deserves all the plaudits for that. For one time, his “THANK YOU” is aimed at people actually cheering him.

8:44pm: A STALLING Tower Of Doom spot with Ricochet splashing into a hanging Montez Ford! This match is a spotfest in all the best ways. This is what a “Showcase” match is: everyone just go do the raddest thing you can think of for 5-10 minutes.

I am okay with that!

8:51pm: TYLER BREEZE IS ON WRESTLEMANIA! I don’t care that it was in the context of WWE 2K23 bit promoting Seth Rollins Vs Logan Paul, or that he barely spoke behind Austin Creed/Xavier Woods. It’s more than I could have expected. This year, a WWE 2K23 promo; next year: World Title match. Look out everyone: it’s Tyler!

We should see a LRLR Title defense out of him! It was great seeing him unify that title this weekend, though.

8:56pm: Logan Paul with the Dollar Store version of Shawn Michaels’ WrestleMania 12 entrance. But did HBK’s include an energy drink mascot? I dunno, maybe? It’s been a long time since I saw it. I could picture Jose Lothario dressed up as a PowerAde. The memory is a tricky thing.

8:59pm: I think this conductor-led Seth Rollins entrance kind of missed the mark because it felt like he was off a bit from the music cue from the truck (well, the truck was probably off from him, let’s be fair) and the crowd seemed confused. It just reminded me of the Tar movie from last year, too. I have to assume not all orchestral conductors sexually assault their students, but it’s now literally all I think about them!

9:03pm: With Neon Pink Vs Wolverine Blue & Yellow, this could be the most colorful match of the evening.

9:06pm: Seth openly calling out the kick from Logan Paul, and I never hear called spots as much as I have tonight so far. Is it because I’m wearing headphones?

9:15pm: WHAT A REVEAL! The person in the Prime Drink mascot costume is… some guy. CSI? I have no idea. I could barely see his face for the costume; I thought it was R-Truth at first. I mean… on a scale of 1 To DDP-As-The-Stalker, this is a level below “Fred Ottman Is The Shockmaster”. Michael Cole is selling it like the dude is Elvis, though.

9:19pm: Seth won, so all the prognosticators were right, and I was wrong. Good on Paul agreeing to lose a match without a title on the line.

9:23pm: Time for the Six Women’s Tag Team Match. DMG CTRL vs Becky, Trish, and Lita. This is a match that might as well happen, I guess.

9:28pm: As the host of a comic book movie based podcast, this Sin City-inspired Becky/Lita/Trish ring entrance works for me. I desperately need to know what Frank Miller thinks about this. Someone get him on the line.

Why suddenly HERE, though? Why now? I wish EVERY ring entrance tonight was derived from a movie now. Go all in!

9:30pm: I want Trish to turn and join DMG CTRL here. Just because. I mean… storyline-wise, it would make sense. DO IT, WWE!

9:32pm: Speaking of Trish, she is BARELY wearing that tight white shirt. Good god, woman. If she takes so much as a light bump…

9:43pm: Lita is… not a good wrestler at this stage in her life. I mean, she’s 8000% better than I would be and has a ton of mileage in those bones, so who am I to judge?

9:46pm: Okay, her moonsault still looks pretty good, though. Not much air, but spectacular rotation for maximum impact.

9:47pm: The babyfaces win, which… it’s not like DMG CTRL’s stock could really sink much lower, so that’s fine. Hopefully they get a reset after WrestleMania this year. They really felt like a plummeting comet for the last half a year or more.

Anyway, this was an inoffensive match to get some big name legends onto the show and let the crowd pop. I felt like there were a LOT of timing issues between everyone, but no one expected Flair/Steamboat here. It was a serviceable popping bout.

9:52pm: Dominik Mysterio Vs Rey Mysterio. I know Dom isn’t the best speaker in the world, but he’s such a fun slimeball, shitbag, cowardly heel. He asks for stuff, then immediately cries about getting it. And his whole Prison Dom persona even while commentary undersells it.

9:56pm: They keep hyping this match as “For The Mysterio Name”, right? So I figure Dom loses here and gets rechristened as either just “Dominik” or, hilariously, “Dominik Ripley”.

9:58pm: DOM GETS A POLICE ESCORT WITH A PRISONER THEMED ENTRANCE, AND I CAN’T STRESS HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS KID. If he was a hair better at the talking or wrestling parts of his job, he’d be my favorite active wrestler. His shtick slays me.

10:00pm: Rey Mysterio gets driven to the ramp by The Artist Formerly Known As Snoop Lion. Good entrance, but Dom’s is better!

10:05pm: But WHY are the ring apron and the barricade Cinnamon Toast Crunch themed? Let me know in the comments what your favorite breakfast cereal is! CTC is top two for me. It’s that or Reese’s Puffs.

10:08pm: Every time I see Aaliyah, I think of CM Punk singing Happy Birthday to her in the creepiest manner humanly possible. My wife has three wrestling memories, and that’s one of them.

10:16pm: On Smackdown, Legado Del Fantasma promised Rey that if Judgment Day got involved, they’d be there to help. Finn and Priest have been here for several minutes, and they still… okay, they JUST appeared as I typed that. Were they in catering?

10:19pm: Rey goes over his own kid in the biggest match of the latter’s career. I mean, that’s worse parenting than anything Dom has accused him of so far!

10:22pm: Oh, Bad Bunny is hosting the next big show event (Backlash) in Puerto Rico. That might explain his interference in that match.

10:27pm: Charlotte vs Rhea Ripley time, and are we in for YET ANOTHER Charlotte victory in a one-on-one match at Mania? I wouldn’t bet against it.

10:29pm: I STILL can not believe they are trying to cast Charlotte as a babyface. You’d think someone would step in somewhere and say “No, this has never worked ever. Course correct”.

10:32pm: Does anyone else think Rhea vs Bianca and Asuka vs Charlotte would have made more sense than the two title matches they gave us? These both feel like odd pairings.

10:38pm: I missed the first several minutes because I checked Twitter and someone was asking what the best condiment for French Fries is, and I had to Google and respond with an image of A1 stake sauce.

Why is this show making me so hungry? Now I want a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but with A1 instead of milk.

Don’t make that face. It would be excellent.

(It might not actually be excellent)

10:42pm: Am I going insane, or does Charlotte look more like Lacey Evans tonight than she looks like, you know, herself?

10:50pm: JESUS CHRIST, Charlotte’s landing on that German Suplex. Literally went face-to-mat.

The slow-motion replays simultaneously make that look brutal AND hilarious. She didn’t protect her kisser at all.

10:57pm: Well I’ll be damned, Charlotte put someone over in a one-on-one WrestleMania match.

11:05pm: I got distracted by my cats fighting, but I see Plum, Pennsylvania’s own Pat McAfee is here! Is he challenging The Miz for a match? Haha Michael Cole is going bananas! Snoop corpses at a “Tiny Balls” chant.

11:13pm: Okay, I feel like we didn’t have time for that when it’s already after 11pm. We couldn’t have cut right to the tag match? That was a nothing segment.

11:20pm: Tag Team Titles Match. My cats are still growling and hissing at each other for no damn reason. Cats, your timing is garbage! You’ve always been friends; what is this?

11:24pm: I do not know what a Lil Uzi Vert is, but he is singing to me. HE’S NO TAYLOR SWIFT, I KNOW THAT MUCH. Oh, it was just a quick intro to The Usos’ theme. No harm then. You can never tell when we are going to get a mini-concert on some of these big PLE’s.

11:53pm: MORE loud spot calling, this time from KO to the Usos. Are the camera just in bad areas of the ring tonight? Did they get better microphones? Are my headphones THAT good?

11:56pm: Sami and KO win a match that was all about their resiliency. The Usos beat the holy hell out of both men, but just couldn’t put them away. This was to get the fans and the crowd as low as possible by having them watch their favorites get mauled for so damn long… and then just pull it all out to a huge ovation. Can’t really question that.

It really was a great ride. It was more story and emotional ride than a high-quality match. Storytelling over wrestling.

So how was Night One? Enjoyable. It was enjoyable. Throwing out the McAfee/Miz shenanihans, the best two matches were the last two, the fatal four-way was a lot of fun, Seth/Paul delivered, and watching Dom just brings me great personal joy.

It was a satisfactory night!

What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

And until next time–which will be tomorrow, I suppose–take care!

article topics :

Wrestlemania 39, Rob Stewart