SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WOMEN HEADLINE WRESTLEMANIA…
Recap: The show led off with an announcement that Becky vs Charlotte vs Ronda Rousey would close the show at WrestleMania. There was a media announcement earlier in the day, but most fans probably learned the news upon tuning into the show. Ronda then came out for a promo, she was booed as she indicated that she should be the one thanked for the women headlining the show. She then dropped the mic, but then picked it back up and mocked the Beat the Clock Challenge that was about to take place.
Becky then came out, referring to Ronda as a “weirdo” and taking a few digs at her. Charlotte came out last, reminding everyone that she is responsible for the historic announcement due to her seven years of contributions.
Ronda defeated Sarah Logan in 1:25. Charlotte could not beat that time, so her match with Ruby Riott ended without a winner. Becky then defeated Liv Morgan 7 seconds faster than Ronda’s time for the win.
Evaluation: Ronda Rousey has been SO much better as a heel. Her promo tonight hit the right mark. Becky’s new refrain of referring to Ronda as a “weirdo” also works as it reflects the real life criticisms of her prior face character.
Forecast: Considering the historic nature of the women headlining, announcing it ahead of time was smart, as it can be used as a promotional tool for the show. I would expect to see this “first ever” hyped consistently for the next two weeks.
RANDOM COMCAST CORP EMPLOYEES ENTER BATTLE ROYAL…
Recap: Late in the show, Alexa Bliss came out for a Moment of Bliss. As the host of WrestleMania, she said it was her duty to ensure that the conflict between Braun Strowman and the Saturday Night Live correspondents that were on the show a couple weeks ago. Braun came to the ring and was joined via satellite by the SNL hosts. The hosts insulted Braun, with “Colin” stating that his Harvard education would make him a good mentor for Braun, teaching him such skills as chewing food and doing his taxes. Braun then suggested they settle their beef physically by entering the Battle Royal. He asked Alexa to book the match. Alexa at first teased that she couldn’t do that to “talented comedians,” but then indicated that she was joking and made the match.
Evaluation: Like most Moment of Bliss segments, this was painful. Alexa is a good promo, but these segments just aren’t set up for her strengths.
This one was compounded by the appearance of the SNL correspondents. As before, most fans seemed clueless as to who they were and their comedy got essentially zero reaction. Braun actually was good in delivering his part of the segment, but nothing could save this.
I get that this is cross-promotion, as SNL and NBC are Comcast-owned properties as is USA Network, but a good general rule would be the less Comcast Corp employees on the show, the better. I generally do not like celebrity appearances, but if you are going to do them, they only work with big name celebrities. These guys are not Muhammad Ali, Cyndi Lauper, or Mike Tyson.
Forecast: I’m going to look at the potential upside here and predict that the beating these two guys take from Braun during the kickoff show battle royal will prevent them from acting as correspondents the rest of the night.
TRIPLE H PUTS HIS CAREER ON THE LINE…
Recap: Late in the show, Triple H came out for a promo. He brought a letter from Batista’s lawyer. The letter stated that Batista would not appear at WrestleMania unless one stipulation was met. Triple H mocked the letter, claiming that in in Batista’s lawyer claimed that Evolution was formed solely to further Triple H’s title runs, a claim which Triple H mocked as self-evident. He disagreed however, with any claims that Evolution didn’t help Batista’s career, as he entered as D-Von Dudley’s sidekick and left as a champion. He claimed that Batista was using the stipulation to get out of the match, as he was a quitter. He referenced the other times Batista had quit WWE.
Triple H then revealed the stipulation: that Triple H put his career on the line. Triple H said that if he couldn’t beat someone as delusional as Batista he didn’t deserve to keep going, so he accepted.
Evaluation: This was a good promo. Having a lawyer is always a heel maneuver, and demanding the stipulation after the fact made Batista look weaselly. Triple H’s acknowledgment that Evolution was in fact all about him while also acknowledging that it helped Batista struck the right balance of honesty while still clearly painting Batista as the heel in the match.
Forecast: Triple H wins.