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WWE WRESTLEMANIA 36: PART ONE KICKOFF SHOW REPORT
APRIL 4, 2020
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Corey Graves, Peter Rosenberg, Booker T, Renee Young, Mark Henry
-The panelists made statements about the excitement of WrestleMania weekend before robotically running through all of this weekend’s matchups. Corey believed Rollins would emerge victorious in his match, while Peter was betting on Owens. After commercials, the panel discussed Bliss / Cross and their chances against Kabuki Warriors.
-Next the panel turned to Goldberg vs. Strowman. Corey briefly mentioned the controversy: “Goldberg had prepared for the Big Dog, Roman Reigns. A change of plans finds the Monster Among Men as the challenger for the Universal Championship.” Peter acknowledged Reigns by name once as well, but then all attention shifted to Strowman and Goldberg.
-A rap video was shown, starring Miz and Morrison. They battle rapped about their opponents New Day and Usos, and the song’s hook was their chant: “Miz and Morrison – Hey hey, ho ho.”
-While discussing Bryan vs. Zayne, Corey pointed out that both wrestlers started their careers on the independent circuit, and as such, might not be as affected by wrestling in front of a nonexistant crowd.
Announcer: Michael Cole
(1) DREW GULAK vs. CESARO
Cesaro covered for a two-count after an early tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Gulak worked Cesaro into an arm bar, but Cesaro got to his feet and dead lifted Gulak before slamming him to the mat to escape the hold. A tenacious Gulak applied another submission hold but Cesaro got to the bottom rope to break the hold. Gulak dumped Cesaro out of the ring to the floor.
On the floor, Gulak took Cesaro down with a nifty arm drag, then fired Cesaro into each set of ringside steps. Back in the ring, Gulak leaped from the turnbuckle at Cesaro, but Cesaro caught him with a European uppercut. Cesaro covered for two.
Gulak went back to work on Cesaro’s right arm, but Cesaro battled out. Cesaro reversed out of a dragon sleeper attempt and body slammed Gulak before leveling him with a big boot to the face. Cesaro set up for the Neutralizer but couldn’t complete the move due to his injured arm. Cesaro dropped Gulak to the mat and nailed him with another uppercut before hoisting him to his shoulders and twisted into a hands-free airplane spin. Once the spin cycle was complete, he planted Gulak to the mat and covered for the three count.
WINNER: Cesaro by pinfall.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Visually, this first match of WrestleMania weekend looked very similar to the empty-arena matches of recent WWE television – no augmented reality or visualizations of fans viewing remotely. As will be the pattern for many matches this weekend, one wonders what the crowd reaction would’ve been for Cesaro’s impressive airplane spin with his hands on his hips. The match was brief and that move was the highlight.)
Kayla Braxton interviewed Corbin backstage. They watched a replay of Corbin knocking Elias to his death from Maruo’s pedestal. Corbin laughed. Kayla asked if he had any remorse, and Corbin said he was sorry he didn’t also run Elias over with a road case. Corbin indicated that he has written a song for Elias and produced a harmonica, which he played badly. He sung about ending Elias and how his kingdom can’t be stopped.
The Kickoff show featured an appearance by alternate panel members, each broadcasting via remote video: Renee Young, Booker T, and Mark Henry. Renee acted as host, and they discussed Lynch vs. Baszler.