Monday, April 1, 2024

Ramblemania Rewind - WWE Wrestlemania 36 (2020)

WWE Wrestlemania 36
Sunday, April 5th, 2020
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, FL
Attendance: 283,098

Wrestlemania 36 was the widely-attended event from Tampa. So widely attended that it broke the worldwide record in the history of attendance. And look, I know I said that Wrestlemania X-Seven was the textbook example of a quality Wrestlemania card and I do still consider that the absolute BEST Mania of all time... but goddamn does 36 come close.

In what seems like the opposite of Mania 35 - a show that lasted eleventy-billion hours - Mania 36's runtime clocked in roughly less than two hours and thirty minutes. Add another two hours for the pre-show where they had their annual battle royales that I don't care fore, but this was a short show with some big matches.

Smackdown Tag-Team Champions The Miz and John Morrison defeated The Usos and The New Day in a Ladder match to retain the titles. It's a tag-team ladder match with talented high-spot guys... and also the Miz is there. Fun opening match.

Roman Reigns defeated WWE Universal Champion GOLDBERG with three spears in three minutes to win the title. Despite the crowd warming up to him months earlier due to his return from leukemia, once Roman won the title, everyone was back to booing the ever-loving piss out of him. It also didn't help that after Roman got the three count, Goldberg immediately got up and quickly made his way to the back, which prompted Vince McMahon to come out and chastise Goldberg for "ruining the moment" or something, only for Goldberg to tell Vince to go fuck himself before walking off. Was this a shoot or a parody of Goldberg refusing to follow the script? Fortunately, they booked this match after the ladder match so that it wouldn't completely taint the show. There'll be plenty of other opportunities to pull that off.

NXT Women's Champion Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Flair to retain the title in an impressive showing that saw both women work their absolute asses off. If Wrestlemania were a two-night event, this could have easily held its own as a first night Mania main event. But alas, we only had room for one main event and we needed something to wash the wretch of Roman vs. Goldberg. So here we are.

United States Champion Andrade defeated Rey Mysterio via countout to retain the title in a superb lucha-style match with a total fuck finish that saw Andrade toss poor Rey into a foam wall of boxes like a lawn dart. It was quite hilarious to see poor Andrade run from the backstage area all the way to the ring in order to make the count... you didn't need to see that, but I'm glad it happened. The best Andrade bit I've seen of all time.

Edge defeated Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match that saw Edge bury poor Randy in a bunch of foam barrels that was part of the set. A pretty intense match that saw chairs used, tables smashed, and every so often, they'll break out some old-school mat wrestling. Lasting short of a half-hour, this was a thrilling back and forth contest that cemented this as a highlight of Edge's return to the ring. This was a treat.

The Undertaker defeated AJ Styles in a surprisingly decent match. It's no secret that Undertaker hasn't been at his best in recent years and wrestling old guys hasn't helped that perception, either. The difference is that AJ Styles isn't an old broken down fuck; he's a talented individual who pushed Taker to be his best and Taker held his own. This was probably the best Undertaker match I've seen in a long time. Not quite as good as his HBK matches, but still pretty damned good.

RAW Women's Champion Becky Lynch defeated Smackdown Women's Champion Bayley in a Title Unification match to win both titles, which would be redubbed the Undisputed WWE Women's Championship. Pretty much the last decent match on this show.

Drew McIntyre defeated WWE Champion Brock Lesnar to win the title. A hard-hitting contest that only lasted a few minutes; Brock hit a bunch of F5s on Drew, who came back with a Claymore kick to score the pinfall and win the title in front of a packed stadium... and then out comes Roman Reigns to challenge Drew to a title unification match. Drew accepts the challenge and after five minutes of action, Roman pins Drew to win both titles and is the Undisputed WWE Champion, much to the fierce hatred of the crowd. And the lights go out and when they appear, standing in the middle of the ring was the Rock, who cut one of his great promos and challenged Roman to a title match. Roman accepts the challenge and as soon as the bell rings, Rock hits Roman with a Rock Bottom, follows it up with a People's Elbow, and scores the pinfall to win the WWE title. Now the crowd is happy again... Rock celebrates with the title for a few minutes before John Cena comes out and challenges Rock to a title match. Before Rock could accept, however, John Cena is attacked by Bray Wyatt in his sweater while Rock is attacked by Roman Reigns. And then the show abruptly goes off the air. What a shitty way to end an otherwise fine show.

Also, April Fools.

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