Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Ramblemania 37

"It's Like Having Two Days Of Colonoscopies."
Jim Ross on two nights of Wrestlemania

For some reason, I found that quote from WWE Hall Of Famer, AEW Announcer, and former Dippin' Dots pitchman Jim Ross funny. And considering I've had my share of colonoscopies over the years, that certainly sounds like an apt analogy.

For the first time since this pandemic hit, WWE is running a show with a large number of fans at the Raymond James stadium in Tampa. It's not a full audience or anything because COVID is still a prominent heel, but there's just enough there that it almost looks like a crowded event surrounded by a bunch of cardboard cutouts. Awesome.

Anyway, both nights are covered here and will be divided as such. I saw some bits when the show aired, but was busy with other stuff so I had to wait until the replay to check it out. Much to my surprise, I was actually able to watch both shows straight with maybe a couple quick breaks at most.

April 10th, 2021

The show opens with a bunch of promos because it's raining... right off the bat, it's already starting to feel like a colonoscopy and I can't blame WWE for this because that's the risk you take for running outdoor arenas; you're basically at the whims of Mother Nature and sometimes she doesn't care about your stupid little sports-entertainment show or whatever. But if you like history being made, the show ended with two colored people in the main event for the first time ever and the show began with the first ever rain stoppage in Mania history.

All that aside, kudos to whoever made the decision to let the talent cut loose and do a bunch of unscripted promos to hype up their individual matches, because they got me looking forward to what has been a rather weak Mania card.

WWE World Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre via Hurt Locker submission to retain the title. Well, I guess they're sticking with the Mighty Train or whatever they're calling it, which only serves to highlight the stupid booking. So Drew won the title at Mania last year and then a month or so ago, he lost the title to Miz in a cash-in. And then a week later, Miz drops the title to Lashley and so Lashley defends against Drew here, with the idea that maybe they want Drew to win the title in front of fans, but then this happens and you're like "What?"

I'm sure people are thrilled that Lashley retained the title and honestly, this was one of those things where it could've gone either way and I'd be fine with it... in a vacuum. But if you actually look at the big picture, if Lashley was going to win, wouldn't it have been a bigger deal if Drew never lost the title the first time and Lashley won it at Mania instead of... whatever the fuck they did? Not to mention; Bobby is technically a "heel," a "bad guy". Yes, the crowd cheered for Lashley because of course they did and good on them, but this was basically Drew playing Lex Luger to Lashley's Yoko, where he was on this road to redemption and he ultimately choked the big one... and that sucks because Drew was one of the few big stars they had that they DIDN'T completely fuck up and now that's out the window.

Anyway, the match started off a bit slow, but picked up steam towards the end. Seen in a vacuum, you could've gone either way. But as part of a larger story - because they are supposedly telling stories - it was the wrong move and it's already a troubling sign when it's the first WWE match with fans and they're already fucking up simple stories from the getgo.

Nattie and Tamina win a Turmoil match with three other women team who don't matter... or at least, I don't remember enough to matter. All I know is that I went for a piss and made myself a sandwich while this took place and when I went back to watch the match again, I realized that I hadn't missed much. Have we hit the Women's Devolution without announcement because this was pretty bad. Like, really bad. Whoever praised the idea of having more women on the show for the sake of having more women on the show should be dragged to the street and run over with a monster truck because if this crap is what they're championing... and they say the AEW women were bad.

But, just so I'm not being completely negative on the women in WWE... NXT had a pretty sweet match between Io Shirai and Rachel Gonzales last week that's probably worth watching if you haven't already.

Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins in a perfectly acceptable wrestling match. Basically, Seth didn't want to get spun, but then he got spun and beat. It was a fun match that had a fun finish... finally, a smile on my face.

AJ Styles and the big guy - Omos - defeated the New Day to win the tag belts. This was a thing that happened until this Omos guy gets tagged in, where he no sells everything, beats up the New Day, and pins one of them with his foot. Hey, if you wanted to make these Omos guy look like a big monster, this was the way to do it, I suppose. And this is where my ignorance of weekly WWE programming fails me because I gotta ask, "Who's the babyface and who's the heel?" Because the announcers are making this out to be like AJ and the big guy are the "bad guys" but they're getting cheered. So... not that I'd care in the long run, but this wishy-washy booking needs to stop in the major wrestling shows.

They showed a trailer for the upcoming WWE 2K video game, which looks like every other WWE 2K video game that they put out since the dawn of time. Nothing learned, I suppose.

Braun STROW-MAN defeated Shane MACK-MAN in a steel cage match in a victory for the dummies in the world. Yes, one of the announcers - probably Cole, I don't remember, they all sound the same - actually claimed that this Braun win was for all the stupid people in the world who were mocked and called stupid. Oh, so you're speaking of the people who booked or liked this crap?

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated Miz and John Morrison in what was apparently a surprisingly good match according to some people. The match was perfectly fine. Bad Bunny put on a good showing here, never looking like total shit or treating this like a joke. People were impressed by that one Canadian Destroyer he pulled off, but that's Morrison doing most of the work anyway, so... but, still, as far as celebrity outings go, Bad Bunny's got 'em beat.

And in the main event... BEE-AHN-KA BELL AIR... I think I got that right. I've had people say that I messed up the poor lady's name often in the past and I just figured I was saying it quickly... until I realized there's no "L" in the first name. So let's give this a shot.

Bianca Blair defeated Women's Champion Naomi to retain the title via kick-out according to Michael Cole... okay, whatever.

Wait, what's that? That wasn't Naomi? That was Sasha Banks? Sorry, the hair threw me off.

So this was a thing that happened... wasn't wowed by it or anything, but it was alright. Didn't think it was anything special, but it was a showcase for Bianca, Sasha did what she could to make her look good, and in the end, the right woman won to send the people home happy with the expressed purpose of making a new bigtime star having been accomplished here. For that alone, this was a worthy main event and hopefully the start of big things for Bianca. I hate her outfits, though; they're absolutely wretched.

(Update: For those watching the replay on the Network, they edited out the rain delay bit so it starts with the normal open and goes straight to the match. Sad to see since the world has been deprived of Samoa Joe in a poncho before he was future endeavored by ninjas.)

April 11th, 2021

Titus and Hogan are dressed as pirates to open the show... cool.

Randy Orton (the heel of the story who gets cheered) defeated Bray Wyatt (the babyface of this story who gets jeered because his gimmick sucks) in a PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING MATCH... well, kind of. They brought back the fucking retarded red light of the fiend, Michael Cole is talking about this box-like structure that looks like a fucking box, and then 10-year Alexa shows up and leaks oil like a Papa Shango victim or something. This whole thing is fucking stupid, it needs to die, and the crowd booed the ever-loving piss out of this shit despite the best efforts of WWE's crackhead production team trying to pipe in cheers in a vein attempt to get people to believe this is good shit. Fuck the people who came up with this shit. Fuck the people who perpetuated this shit on television, Fuck the people who enjoy this garbage. Fuck off with this noise.

Women's Tag-Team Champions Shayna Bazler, Nia Jax, and Nia Jax's Hole defeated Nattie and Tamina in a fucking horrible match to retain the titles. Good news for fans of the ladies; there's more female representation. Bad news; the match fucking blows. And apparently, the NXT equivalent isn't any better, either. This night is already starting off on the wrong foot and we don't have shitty weather to blame for it, either.

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn for the billionth time, but this time on the grandest stage of them all. This was every Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn and ever Kevin Steen vs. El Generico match you've ever seen in the past two decades and that's perfectly fine because these two know each other so well, are more than capable of pulling off great matches together, and this was no exception. As an added bonus, we get Kevin Owens giving a stunner to Logan Paul, who is a Youtube personality or something. Is he related to that Jake Paul fellow?

Sheamus defeated United States champion Matt Riddle to win the title in a pretty fun hard-hitting match. It's easy to forget how good of a talent Matt Riddle is because they portray him as such as fucking idiot, it's hard to imagine he was once a former MMA guy and the one who started the Bloodsport PPV series before Josh Barnett took over... one of these days, I gotta go see one of those shows. They look fun.

Apollo Crews defeated Intercontinental champion BIG E to win the title in a Nigerian Drum Fight - basically a no holds barred match where a bunch of drums lay around the ring unused because we'd rather hit each other with Singapore Canes because they're way the fuck lighter. Seriously, it's just a normal hardcore match with no drums used that ends when Big E is assaulted by the big guy formerly known as Yabba Dabba Kahto from that RAW Underground thing or whatever his name was, allowing Apollo to get the win. Complete and utter waste of time and a waste of two talented fellows.

Rhea Ripley defeated RAW Women's Champion Asuka to win the title in a thing that happened. Wasn't a bad match or anything. It just did nothing for me. Good for Rhea to finally get that big Mania win she should have gotten last year, but I guess Charlotte wasn't available or something. Probably needed a nose job or something.

And then there's a bit where Bayley gets beat up by the Bella Twins, who get booed out of the building. Yes, people were hoping for Becky Lynch or even Ronda Rousey to make a big return to beat up poor Bayley, who had nothing else to do on this show despite being one of the better parts of your women's division... and you bring out the BELLA TWINS... and then they wonder why their ratings aren't as high as in previous years where they're not deluding themselves with doing good things.

And in the main event, Blue Belt champion Roman Reigns pinned both Edge and Daniel Bryan Danielson on top of each other after a hellacious match to retain the title in the triple threat match that featured some great action and way too much Jey Uso. Edge got a big reaction and Roman got booed... but at least he's a heel and so the boos are okay... or something. Not much to say here, I had fun.

So after two nights of Mania... it was a thing that happened. Crowd helped a little. Night One was certainly better than Night Two, but as a package deal, it was alright. Would I be opposed to them following this format next year? Only if they can make it worthwhile and while I can't say they did that here, at the very least, it was a good experience regardless. I enjoyed the show, so that's that.

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