Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Ramblemania 38


As has been the case for the past couple years, Wrestlemania has been split into a two-night affair and as before, I will be covering both nights under a single post. This is the format that we're going to follow going forward if they continue like this. Not only that, but because this year's Wrestlemania - not counting the pre-shows - was a collective EIGHT FUCKING HOURS, I've made the decision to watch these shows chunks at a time. And how long did it take for me to finally watch this stuff?

Let's be real; the fact that you've had to wait until MAY to get my thoughts on this year's Wrestlemania should be an indication that something was not on the level. It took me two weeks to watch EIGHT FUCKING HOURS of Wrestlemania 38. It begins... just as I said it would. Therefore, both nights are covered, as are the points where I'd pause the show to consume on another night... because Wrestlemania these days are too tedious to sit through on a single sitting, much less two.


We begin with Night One festivities and since I'm watching this after the fact, I can skip over the eleventy-billion video packages used to pad out this fucking show to FOUR FUCKING HOURS. Didn't I say that they couldn't help themselves and bloat these things? THEY COULDN'T EVEN WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW!

Smackdown Tag-Team Champions THE USOs retain the titles over Shinsuke Nakaruma and Rick Boogs in a short match... probably because Rick Boogs was carrying both USOs over his shoulders and his quad tore, which left Nakamura alone and eventually overwhelmed. Sucks for Boogs that this happened and I hope he gets well.

Drew McIntyre defeated Happy Corbin in a short match and then cut one of the ring ropes with the sword. I don't know why... oh wait, so they can SHOW MORE FUCKING VIDEO PACKAGES YOU STUPID FUCKERS!

Okay, I'm done now.

Anyway, the match was fun while it lasted and there's an interesting tidbit that took place. So Corbin hits his End Of Days finisher and Drew kicks out, with commentary pointing out that Drew was the first person to kick out of said finisher. From what I've heard, Corbin was one of the few people protective of his finisher that he would not hit the move unless he was winning with it. Now that's actually pretty smart of Corbin, because he knew the value of making the finisher mean something and so when Drew kicked out of the move, it actually felt like a big deal instead of just "trade finishes, kick out, repeat" that everybody does these days when they're out of good booking ideas.

The Miz and Logan Paul beat the Mysterios. And the Miz turned on Logan Paul and people cheered... Miz is supposed to be the bad guy. Also, three guys looked and moved like superstar wrestlers while the fourth guy looked like someone who had their first wrestling match ever and had no clue what they're doing. Logan Paul is the third man. This was a thing that happened.

Stephanie McMahon comes out and introduces that Gabe Steve's Son guy to the world, who comes across as the most lifeless, passionless looking person in the universe. A mailbox has more life that Gabe does. Maybe he should learn some charisma.

Bianca Belair (yes, I'm actually spelling her name correctly... took me long enough, it would seem) defeated RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch to win the title she should've won back ages ago, but I guess another Mania moment is more important than winning back the gold. As a match, it was fine, but the emotional attachment was missing and you're waiting for the long-overdue ending to take place.

The American Nightmare Cody Rhodes... yes, he kept the name, he kept the gear, he kept the song, and he kept that fucking awful neck tattoo... but yes, he beat Seth Rollins.... no, I am not calling him Freaking. They can go FREAK themselves. But yes, Cody Rhodes got to keep his shit and the Dallas crowd popped huge with the prodigal son return.

First impressions are one thing and first time going in, Cody looked the part, he sounded the part, and he had a solid good showing with Seth Rollins. This was a good first chapter... but while Cody has had a good start, it is not indicative of his mutli-year stay in WWE and it's too early to tell whether the naysayers will be proven wrong or be vindicated. Right now, the only people who would consider Cody's run good are the WWE diehards. The more sane people will take a more "wait and see" approach. The fact that we had a good start is a good sign... whether WWE actually continues this good run or fucks it up like they usually do is something we'll have to see going forward. I'll be cautiously optimistic in this regard. Pray I don't regret it.

Smackdown Champion Charlotte Flair defeated Ronda Rousey via shenanigans to retain the title, which was quite shocking, but also not really. Also quite shocking is that this match was the only real sour pint. Not because it was bad, but because it was boring. And on a night where you had a bunch of really good, fun stuff, the one boring match makes it stand out and makes it bad. Quite frankly, I don't see why you couldn't have Ronda win this one. It's not like you weren't going to do the rematch at the Backlash show the following month, so why not strike while the iron is lukewarm and not dead cold.


(The following blurb was ripped from Episode 211 of the DTM-Cast and deserves its own space.)

Yeah, so let's get this out of the way... because I teased it in the blurb. But anyone who has been following this program will recall that I have been somewhat apprehensive and profoundly stuboorn about one Steve Austin coming back for one more match. And I've made quite a bit of noise about how I wouldn't want to watch that match. And for the record, this persisted long after the event took place and everyone had high praise, but I was still somewhat stubborn.

So I'm watching Night 1 of Wrestlemania; Wrestemania Saturday as they call it. And I'll share my thoughts on the show in a couple weeks when the Ramblemania finally gets posted, but to make a long story short, it was a largely enjoyable show despite the four-hour run time; I don't watch the pre-shows because they're a waste of time. So great show, once again, the Cody debut executed as it should've been and I've said my thoughts on that and we get to the main event of Night 1, which is NOT the Ronda/Charlotte match, which saw Charlotte retain, much to my surprise, but whatever.

So they decide to close the show with the KO show with Stone Cold Steve Austin. The segment opens with Kevin Owens running his mouth, flapping his gums, cut a couple zingers, and then the glass shatters and out comes Stone Cold. Huge pop, as one would expect in Texas. They both sit in chairs, KO talks some more, Austin talks back, they trade a few words, KO challenges Austin to a no-holds-barred fight. AUstin does the thing where he asks the crowd and they go hell-yeah. And as soon as he asked for a go- ref, which I thought was funny that he stopped himself from saying goddamn, so Rick Rude must be thrilled... nobody is going to get that. But once he called for a ref, I turned the show off. And basically sat on it for a couple days.

So I take a trip outside of town and I meet an acquaintance. We talk old days, we talk about stuff, and Wrestlemania comes up. They ask if I saw the show, I saw some of it because a lot of it was too long. They asked if I saw the Austin match. I said I didn't want to watch that match. They asked "Why not?" And this was something that I thought about... why didn't I want to watch this match? I struggled with that, surprisingly. I think back to when they were doing the push for WWE '13 video game and they teased a Steve Austin vs. CM Punk (who was the hot stuff and reigning WWE World champion before he got derailed) but they teased a match between the two you knew was never going to happen because Austin had a bad neck and was known to be such a stickler for his own work that... he didn't want to have a worse match than the one he went out on, with Rock at Mania 19, which was a beautiful swan song, even if it wasn't buy his own hand.

So going back to that question, I just said, "I don't want to see Steve Austin come out of retirement and have a worse match than his last one. I don't want to see him come back, wrestle, and end up doing something that might fuck him up even worse." Because I've seen guys try to make comebacks and they get hurt bad. Stuff with Orndorff in that one WCW match where he took a move and he was paralyzed to a point where they had to stop the match to roll them out of there. Especially in light of Big E taking that bump and getting his neck fucked, I'm like "Nah... I don't mind the occasion morbid season, but not always."

So I tell 'em this and normally, if this were online and some anonymous dude or dudette or whatever was reading this, they'd be "get the fuck out of here. this is awesome shit." or whatever. But this fellow gave a wry grin and simply said, "Dude, I felt the same way. But I'm telling you. This isn't Undertaker in Saudi Arabia or anything like. Austin may be an old guy and he doesn't do much, but it's fucking Steve Austin and he's gonna do a Stone Cold match. And that's what he did. Trust me, you'll forget the guy is old as shit and have a ball."

So I gave the show another load... and I loaded up the segment on Night One, sat through the whole thing up to the point where KO challenged Austin to a fight. Austin calls for a ref. They had a match - a no-holds-barred match, which meant they spent more time outside the ring than it. And I'm watching this match and yes, Austin's a little slow at first; he's fifty-something. It's bound to happen. He gets tossed into the barricade and it looks a little slow. Then he gets tossed into the ring post and he falls on his ass to quickly cover his face, which I thought he was going for a gusher and it didn't happen... because that's what this needed is fucking 55-something Stone Cold Steve Austin bleeding buckets in a nothing match with Kevins Owens... and mind you, I'm saying after the show where 60-year-old Sting dives off a fucking balcony to crash some kids through some tables, so I don't know which is more fucked up.

Then they brawled in the crowd and Kevin Owens gives Steve Austin a vertical fucking suplex on the goddamned floor... may have been on top of some cables. And for some reason, this is where things flipped because as soon as he took that bump and he made his comeback - the beer probably helped up a bit; I'd imagine it's been laced with some Geritol, but anyway - Austin does his comeback, Owens gets a cheap shot, tries to go away on the golf cart, Austin takes over, drives up to the stage, gives KO a couple suplexes, and as I'm watching this unfold, I start thinking "What the fuck was I worried about? This is Steve Austin. He's going to have a Steve Austin match. It's mostly brawling on the outside, it's not the most flashiest thing, he ain't doing shit he doesn't want to do. A Steve Austin match is a good, entertaining fight." And that's what this was. Once that first suplex hit, Austin was in the zone. He started picking up Steam, it almost felt like a trip back to 1998... almost, because the beer gut gave it away and bless him, he has booze to sell.

Anyway, they go back to the ring, KO gives Austin a Stunner, which is a straightforward sell, nothing fancy. Austin kicks out, KO goes for a chair, tries to hit Austin but misses, ends up hitting the ropes and the chair bounces back to his face, which is a classic Kurt Angle bit. Austin... Kick, wham, stunner, pins Kevin Owens for the win. And I was worried, I was stubborn about this one, and I am happy to say that I was wrong. It was a typical Steve Austin main event formula match that went off without a hitch, he looked fine, Kevin Owens was superb, and if this ends up being the last hurrah for Steve Austin, at least he got to go out on a much happier note... now if he starts wrestling on those Saudi Blood Money tours, then I'll be miffed and I won't be watching those. And that'll stick a little better because I don't watch the Saudi shows in the first place. Haven't seen one since the first... and whatever happened to that Saudi belt that Braun Strowman won way back when? Does he still have that?

So Night One, I thought, turned out to be pretty good and if that were the whole show, I'd be content, but there is another night of Mania and this is where the show started to struggle a bit.


Day One

Night Two begins with HHH coming out, thanking the crowd, welcoming everyone to Wrestlemania, and finally laid his boots in the middle of the ring to confirm that yes, he is retired for good. Trying to wrestle with a defibulator in your chest is probably not the wisest course of action at this point. Sadly, they took the boots out of the ring, so there wasn't this odd visual of everyone working their match while the boots stayed in the ring. Hopefully, somebody put them back there so they could stay in the middle of the ring while they tore the set down.

RAW Tag-Team Champions RK-Bro defeated the Street Profits and Alpha Academy in a three-way to retain the titles. Then one of the Alpha guys got it on with Gabe Steveson, who shows off his natural charisma hole of color. The match was fine.

Bobby Lashley defeated the tall colored dude in less than six minutes... this was a thing that happened.

Johnny Knoxville defeated Sami Zayn in another thing that happened. Said thing entailed Johnny countering Sami's offense with tricks and traps, allowing with some help from other Jackass people. I don't watch Jackass, so I have no fucking clue who any of these people are. Your mileage is going to vary on this one because on the one hand, the crowd was really into this one, but on the other hand, this match was a total cartoon with lots of wackiness and goofy bits. Taken in that context, I had a smile on my face watching this. 

I heard someone complain that they let Bray Wyatt go so we could have the Jackass crew have a match at Wrestlemania. No offense to Windham, but given the choice between a goofy Jackass match and another shitty Fiend match, I know which I'd prefer. So yeah, one thumb up for this Knoxville/Zayn match... which made me wish this was for the IC title and JK could've been champion. It might piss off a few people, but at least, that title would be on Wrestlemania and not in the possession of a GEEK who wasn't even on the fucking show.

Four hours a night, by the way. Two nights for EIGHT FUCKING HOURS. These fuckers couldn't help themselves; have I mentioned that already? I might've neglected to mention that tidbit.

Sasha Banks and Glow Girl win the Women's Tag Titles over three other teams of hastily put together women in a match where they had a bunch of women in there and no actual tag teams, which made it difficult to ascertain who's teaming with who. WWE has a tendency to treat their tag-team division like a complete afterthought and sadly, this applies to the Women as well. At least, they got some time on the show, but did we really need this match? Bless them; they worked hard, but at the same time, this was where I started to fall asleep and only knew who won because I just gained consciousness towards the end. With that done, I stopped the show, deciding to save the rest for another night.

Day Two

Edge's Granddad defeated AJ Styles, who started off bloodied out of nowhere, which is odd. The good news is that this match only lasted twenty-five minutes. The bad news is that this is twenty minutes too long. This was the first match that popped up after startng a new viewing and I was already starting to fall asleep. You know, I had seen 30 minute and 60 minutes matches with Bryan Danielson that held my attention and went by quickly. You'd figure that someone like AJ Styles (whom Ric Flair claims is BETTER than Danielson) would be able to make a long match with grandpa Edge work... but somehow, this was slow, plodding, boring, and such a nothing-happening match that I fell asleep about five minutes... and this was in the middle of the fucking afternoon.

It would seem that I may have a new cure of insomnia. The 20-minute HHH promo can rest easy, for I have this match to put me out like a light. Good lord, this was deathly dull.

Day Three

Yes, I clocked out after ONE match. Thanks a lot, Edge's grandpa.

So people made a big stink last night because WWE had to cut the New Day vs. Sheamus/Holland match from Night 1... because apparently, we didn't have enough time for the eleventy-billion video packages needed to pad out the show to FOUR FUCKING HOURS on the FIRST NIGHT! And so they reschedule the match to Night 2. And so in the much ballyhoed match that everyone was clamoring for, Sheamus and the Holland guy beat the New Day guys in  less than two minutes.

Fuck off.

Seriously, all that crying and THIS is the match you were clamoring for... hey, they lasted longer than Kofi did against Brock, so that's something, but still...

Pat McAfee (the former football guy turned part-time Adam Cole foil turned Smackdown announcer) defeated Austin Theory (Vince McMahon's next chosen star who is allegedly the next John Cena) in a thing that happened. Hey, I'll give credit; the people were super into McAfee and the bit where he was talking on the headset while beating up Theory on the table gave me a good laugh, because that was the sort of thing guys like Rock or Stone Cold would do back in the day. If you wanted a good strong showing for McAfee on the grandest stage, I'd say this counts in spades.

And then McAfee challenged McMahon to a fight, who responded by taking off his shirt. Theory got a couple sneak attacks in before McMahon tossed a football into Pat's ribs, allowing Vince to score the pinfall... and then Steve Austin comes out, stuns Austin Theory (who sells it beautifully with a very nice high bounce) and shares a drink with Vince before "stunning" him... by which I mean, Vince falls before poor Austin manages to grab on to the bastard and do the stunner. The poor fucker couldn't sell the thing in his 40s.

Oh, and McAfee also gets stunned... he sells it pretty good too.

And then Austin Theory shortened his name to just "Theory" because... reasons. You'd think of all the times we'd need a total repackage and name change, this would be it... but whatever.

And in the main event, Blue Belt champion Roman Reigns defeated WWE World Champion Brock Lesnar to win both belts in the WINNER TAKES ALL, THIS TIME FOR SURE PAL, match. They say the third time is a charm and this... was also something that put me to sleep. Because no matter how much you try to make this a big deal, the fact is that I've already seen this Wrestlemania event twice before. They sucked then and this sucks now. Different dynamic with Tribal Chief Roman and Farmer Brock? Sure, but it's the same fucking match that I've already seen. I was bored with it then and this was no fucking different. And on top of that, Brock gets beat and Roman holds two belts, leaving many to wonder how anybody is going to give a shit about what happens now when we're all waiting for next year to roll around so we can (maybe) have that Rock vs. Roman match they always wanted. Thanks but no thanks. I'll pass.

So that was the 2-night Wrestlemania and I could best describe as Night 1 being one of the better shows that WWE has put out in recent years and certainly one of the best Wrestlemania cards I've come across as far as the wrestling and entertainment value was concerned. And then you have Night 2, which is where you have all the sloppy seconds. A couple fun moments here and there, but a largely bland and sleep-inducing program. And the big main event that's supposed to be the best of the bunch... naturally failed to live up to the hype. So, I guess if you want me to be for this two-night format, keep your good shit on one show and shutter the rest onto the second night. That way, I can watch one and skip the other. If Night One was the only Wrestlemania we got this year, it would've been one of the best Manias in a good long while. But it's not; it's a two-part thing and the second part definitely lowers the overall show's stock considerably.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it real and keep it clean.