by Vince Vandal
I’ve been an avid fan of professional wrestling for over 25 years. I caught the tail-end of the Golden Era, into the birth of the amazing spectacle that was the Attitude Era, which led into the era of Ruthless Aggression, and finally… the PG Era. The era where actual wrestling has taken a backseat to “sports entertainment,” whatever that even means anymore. I’m not the type of guy to catch every episode of RAW and Smackdown anymore like when I was growing up, because it just doesn’t have that spark that it used to. I’ll only watch the major events (Wrestlemania and the Royal Rumble) and catch highlights if anything of note happens in-between. That being said, I still like to see the culmination of the build-ups from the previous year at the “Grandaddy of Them All” (even though Vince doesn’t let anyone call it that anymore), Wrestlemania, and see how the company is holding up. So here’s my review.
Intercontinental Title (Ladder Match)
Very good. Awesome spots. Extremely unexpected ending, but I’m okay with it. Hopefully Ryder builds some momentum back up with it and it wasn’t just a fluke win.
AJ Styles vs “Slick Jericurl”
Much more sluggish than I thought it would be. Honestly I thought this would steal the show, similar to how HBK vs Y2J did at Wrestlemania XIX. I’m okay with the ending, because otherwise Jericho would look way too weak against Styles. Hopefully that’s not the end of the feud, but they need something new to spice it up.
New Day vs League of Nations
Kinda wack. I’m not really a fan of either of them, but the zaniness of New Day is pretty funny at times, especially considering their epic entrance that consisted of busting out of a oversized box of Booty-O’s in Dragon Ball Z saiyan armor. I’m not making that up. Besides that, you can’t deny the skill from guys like Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Alberto Del Rio. The Legends coming out at the end was easily the biggest pop of the night, and I would’ve loved to see that live.
Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose
How? HOW did they screw this up?!? This match pretty much wrote itself, and could’ve been one of the greatest matches of all time. It should’ve gone longer, and Ambrose should’ve won. It would’ve catapulted him SO high, and made him look like a legit badass. But now, he just looks like he was stupid for challenging Lesnar, and is nothing more than another notch on Lesnar’s belt. Sigh. Okay, WWE. Lesnar’s tough. WE GET IT.
Women’s Championship (Triple Threat)
First of all… YES. I am SO glad they dissolved that terrible ass “Diva” moniker they put on all the women wrestlers. It was fine (I guess) when you had a bunch of wack girls who could only flail around in the ring and were worried more about sex appeal than skill, but these three are LEGIT wrestlers. And to be honest, they had to do it if they were gonna compete with any of the female wrestlers in NXT, because Bayley vs Asuka was in-fucking-credible.
I wish Becky would have won, but I’m not mad that Charlotte did, even though I don’t like her. What I AM mad about, is that once again, Flair’s punkass had to interfere. Ugh. FFS she needs to get rid of him. All that managed to do was detract from the prestige of reviving the WWE Women’s Championship. Flair seems to be suffering from the Hulk Hogan disease of never quite knowing when to go away.
Undertaker vs Shane (Hell In A Cell)
Great match, though again, it could’ve gone a bit longer. I saw the high spot from Shane coming from the moment they announced the match two months ago, but I definitely didn’t expect Taker to move. Shane may be a McMahon and partial owner of the company, but dude is a legend for real. He doesn’t do these crazy ass things because he needs to win the fans over or because he needs the paycheck. He does it because he loves it and he loves the sport. That’s why he’s a legend, that’s why he gets the respect that he gets, and that’s why everyone lost their minds when he came back.
It was disappointing that he lost (since Taker doesn’t have a streak to preserve anymore) but here’s what I’m thinking: If you go back to two months ago when this match was announced, listen carefully. Shane said he wanted control of Monday Night RAW, right? Vince McMahon said, “I’ll give you what you want, but you have to have one match, one night against an opponent my choosing.” Not once did he ever say that Shane had to win. So there’s a possible silver lining. Here’s hoping that actually comes to fruition tonight and this wasn’t just another wasted opportunity on the endless pile that WWE has been creating.
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale
Kinda weak sauce overall, but the ending was good. Unexpected to see Shaq just come out of left field, but everyone wants to be a part of Wrestlemania. Hopefully, Baron Corbin winning will lead to some sort of push in the near future. Maybe a United States title run?
HHH vs Roman Reigns
I couldn’t have been more bored about the concept of this match if I tried. Only part about this I actually enjoyed was when Stephanie got speared, lol. No surprises otherwise, and I called the outcome forever ago. My personal opinion, is that they need to turn Roman heel. They have tried and tried for years to get him over with the fans, and it just isn’t working. The same thing happened to The Rock, and he made it work by becoming one of the greatest heels in the history of the company. Same thing with John Cena, but he went the opposite direction and decided to “rise above hate.”
WWE has to learn that you can’t just force feed someone that you like to the fans and MAKE them be accepted — it doesn’t work like that. This is Roman’s third WWE Championship. His third. It’s like the WWE keeps saying, “Do you like him now? No? How bout now? How bout from this angle? No? How bout now? Please clap.”
I’d give Wrestlemania 32 a 5 out of 10. Average. Highlighted only by some cool high spots and a couple surprises.
With the exception of some stand out performers, the action has become stale and predictable, and the writing lazy. Want a glimpse of how amazing the WWE’s programming could be? Go on YouTube and watch WhatCulture Wrestling’s “How WWE Should Book“ and “How WWE Should Have Booked“ series, then realize that Adam is a creative genius. Why WWE hasn’t hired this guy yet onto their creative team still baffles me to this day.
I’m hoping tonight’s RAW will at least salvage some of this, because it usually does a decent job of cleaning up some of the mess from the previous night’s events. But in all honesty, if you want the excitement of seeing amazing athletes go all out inside that ring from bell-to-bell, then go watch NXT. If you have WWE Network and missed it this past Friday, go back and watch NXT Takeover: Dallas. You won’t be disappointed.
Producer, Gamer, Otaku. Vince Vandal is an underground music producer from Baltimore. He makes beats, plays video games, watches anime, speaks his mind, and is into pretty much everything awesome. Find him on Facebook, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud.