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KELLER’S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 36 REPORT – NIGHT TWO
APRIL 5, 2020
TAPED IN ORLANDO, FLA. AT PERFORMANCE CENTER & WWE STUDIOS
AIRED ON TAPE DELAY ON PPV AND WWE NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, JBL (for Smackdown matches); Tom Phillips & Byron Saxton (for Raw matches)
-Stephanie McMahon, showing her dedication, showed up again for night two to introduce the show with her wry patronizing smile as she said the first time in 36 years she is presented “night two of WrestleMania.” She did change clothes since yesterday, which is how we know she shows up tonight also. She said the Superstars are “performing” to entertain and bring escape and smiles to fans worldwide.
-The same WrestleMania montage started with the Jack Sparrow knockoff narrating as clips of wrestlers on the show were shown. Then AC/DC’s “Love Bomb” played as the montage ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: So much effort was put into the montage, it really did make this feel a level higher than a normal PPV. Touches )
-Next “Blinding Light” played as Cole introduced the show. Gronk then introduced the show from the platform above the ring.
(1) RHEA RIPLEY vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR – NXT Women’s Title match
Ripley landed a Riptide early for a near fall. She yanked Charlotte to the floor a minute later, but Charlotte threw her into the ringside steps. Ripley leaped off the stairs and flip dove onto Charlotte. Saxton said the Confidence Meter is getting stronger and stronger for Ripley. Back in the ring, Ripley attacked Charlotte aggressively. Phillips said she was “ravenous.” Charlotte came back a couple minutes later to work over Ripley’s leg. She wrapped her leg around the ringpost, but Ripley yanked Charlotte into the post. Charlotte clipped Ripley’s leg with an elbow to the side and back of her knee. Ripley roared in pain. The ref offered to stop the match. Ripley continued. Charlotte worked over the leg. The ref yelled, “Come on, Charlotte!” They’re having the referees and wrestlers be much more vocal without fans present. Ripley connected to the side of Charlotte’s head with a stiff dropkick. They replayed it in slo-mo and it looked great. Ripley continued to rally for a minute until Charlotte kicked Ripley’s legs and knocked her off the ring apron to the floor. Charlotte climbed to the top rope, but Ripley knocked her off balance and carried her onto her shoulders and then dropped her face-first to the mat for a sitout drop for a two count. Both were slow to get up.
Ripley landed a top rope dropkick for a two count a minute later. Ripley was frustrated. Saxton said Ripley should thinking about career longevity now by fighting so long on a bad knee. Ripley applied a Cloverleaf mid-ring after some vicious stomps to Charlotte’s chest. Charlotte powered Ripley over to escape. Charlotte set up a figure-four, but Ripley kicked herself free. They exchanged leverage pin attempts with reversals for two counts. Charlotte climbed to the top rope and went for a moonsault, but Ripley lifted her boot. Charlotte speared Ripley right away, though, and scored a near fall. Ripley came back with a small package for a near fall. Charlotte came right back with a figure-four. Ripley tried to slap her way out of it. Charlotte then bridged up into the Figure-eight. Ripley tried to figure out an escape, couldn’t, and tapped out. Phillips said this came six years after she won her first NXT Title.
WINNER: Charlotte in 21:00 to capture the NXT Women’s Title. (***1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match start to finish, with a nice dramatic clean finish with a signature move. Ripley and Charlotte found a sweet spot when it came to facial expressions and being vocal, pushing the limit but not crossing it when it came to trying to make up for a lack of crowd heat. I was fine with either wrestler winning. Charlotte winning puts Ripley in the underdog babyface role chasing the standard-bearer veteran who proved herself better at least as of now.)
-A commercial aired for “The Big Show Show” sitcom on Netflix.
-A commercial aired for WWE shirts.
-They went to Phillips and Saxton on camera who smiled and threw to a video recap of night one of WrestleMania.
(Keller’s Analysis: It would have been nice to have an update on the condition of A.J. Styles since the last we saw of him he buried alive in dirt in a grave!)
(2) ALEISTER BLACK vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/Lana)
Phillips noted this is a first-time ever battle between these two. Everyone is premiering their new outfits and ring gear, giving it that ingredient that’s part of WrestleMania each year. Black had a new ring robe and Lashley had upgraded trunks. Lashley got the better of Black at ringside. Lashley dominated with a chinlock mid-ring. Black fired back with strikes. He swept Lashley down, knocked him to the floor, and then landed a cabrada off the middle turnbuckle. Back in the ring, though, Lashley made a comeback, landing a surprise running crossbody for a two count. He was about to follow-up when Lana suggested another move. That delay cost Lashley, because when he charged for a spear seconds later, Black connected with a Black Mass for the win.
WINNER: Black in 7:00. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a ton to this, but it was a solid elevation for Black to get such a quick and decisive win over Lashley with his finisher. After months of primarily beating jobbers, it built credibility to see him use it against someone like Lashley with success. They made the most of the seven minutes they had. This was the right length for this match, too, which had no backstory.)
-Kayla Braxton interviewed Sasha Banks and Bayley. When Braxton said this could be Bayley’s greatest challenge yet, Bayley said it’s unfair. Bayley assured Kayla that she and Sasha are best friends and nothing will get in the way of it. Bayley left. Kayla pointed out Sasha has never been Smackdown Champion and how badly does she want to become champion. Sasha paused and then said we’ll just have to watch to find out.
-A commercial aired for WWE Monday in the Bank on May 10.
-They went to Cole and JBL on camera. Cole said Gronk has been having fun. They replayed Gronk trying to beat R-Truth for the 24/4 Title, but Mojo stole the win. Cole said to look at Gronk’s face as Mojo celebrated.
-Charly Caruso interviewed Gronk on the platform and asked how he feels about Mojo taking the opportunity to become 24/7 Champion. He said he’s won three titles before, but he’d love one more tonight.
-A car commercial aired.
-Cole and JBL threw to a video package on the Otis-Mandy-Dolph Ziggler storyline with Sonya Deville having sabotaged Otis to help Ziggler, as revealed on Smackdown on Friday.
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(3) DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Sonya Deville) vs. OTIS
JBL said Otis looks like a farm animal who just escaped from a local dairy. Ziggler opened up with an early flurry including a super kick and a nice dropkick for a two count. Cole said Ziggler and Deville were despicable for what they did to conspire against Otis and Mandy. Otis eventually catapulted Ziggler into the corner turnbuckle. Both were slow to get up. JBL was especially mean to Otis and his prospects for ever finding love. Otis slammed Ziggler. Cole asked JBL who Otis reminds him of. JBL said: “It’s easy, Ivan Putsky, if Ivan Putski had eaten Bam Bam Bigelow.” Otis backdropped Ziggler over the top rope to the floor. He let out a roar and went after Ziggler at ringside. Back in the ring he landed a powerslam. “Oh yeah!” he roared. Otis began doing the Caterpillar, but Deville distracted him on the ring apron. Ziggler kicked Otis in the butt from behind. Mandy Rose’s music then played. Sonya asked what she was doing there. Mandy slapped Deville and then attacked her. Sonya rolled into the ring. Mandy gave Ziggler a low-blow and then left the ring. Cole said it is payback. Otis stood and landed the Caterpillar into an elbow drop for the win. Mandy entered the ring and congratulated her. Otis picked her up and they smooched.
WINNER: Otis in 8:00. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Nicely done and really straight forward. The right feel-good ending. They “protected” Ziggler by having Mandy interfere, but it felt justified because of what Ziggler did to Otis, plus Sonya’s interfering.)
-A commercial aired for WWE Network’s “Untold” series.
-Saxton was so happy at the Otis-Mandy romance getting back on track.
(4) EDGE vs. RANDY ORTON – Last Man Standing match
Edge came out first. As Orton’s music played, Orton caught Edge with an RKO Out of Nowhere from behind. They showed at ringside that Orton was disguised as a cameraman at ringside before striking. The ref asked if he was okay. Edge said he wanted to fight. The ref said as soon as Edge got to his feet, he’d call for the bell. Orton hit Edge with a camera and then they brawled into the Performance Center weightlifting gym area. He put Edge’s neck in straps attached to the weight lifting machine (which is just too close to what happened with Chris Benoit to be something I ever want to see on a wrestling show). Edge got up at the count of six. Orton had a barbell, but Edge swung his legs and kicked it into Orton’s chest. Both were down and slow to get up. Edge beat up Orton on a chair, then looked around for ideas. He swung off of a piece of equipment and landed on Orton. They battled into the production area where Orton clutched his arm.
Orton fought back in a back hall with red lighting. They battled against a storage garage door. Edge threw Orton into the door. The ref counted to six. (Otis was the no. 1 trend on Twitter in the United States at this moment in this match. Charlotte was no. 2.) When they fought back to ringside, Orton got the better of Edge in the place where seats would be. They ended up in a back hallway with a bunch of posters of wrestlers. Orton threw Edge into the wall. Then Edge got the better of Orton when they fought around a giant steel desk for meetings at the P.C. Edge threw a flying elbow drop on Orton after swinging from the ceiling. That led to the ref beginning a count on Orton. A cameraman went down in a back hallway brawl. They went to a storage facility where some ladders were available to use. Edge climbed to the top of a caged area and leaped off with a flying elbow onto Orton through a table. This just went on and on and on and on…
Eventually they fought onto the top of a pick-up truck. Orton told the ref he doesn’t need to start his count until he says so. He gave him a draping DDT onto the cover of the bed of the truck. Edge was on the roof of the NXT trailer next to the pick-up truck. A camera happened to be up there to film. Saxton went into golf announcer soft speaking mode here. Orton charged at Edge, but Edge caught him with a spear. Orton cried in pain. The ref began counting both wrestlers down. He got to eight before Edge stood. Orton stood right before ten. Edge went for another spear, but Orton countered into an RKO. Both were down and the ref began counting again. Orton put a chair under Edge and then swung at him. The ref yelled at Orton that Edge has a family and not to do it. Edge got up and put on a cobra clutch on Orton. They collapsed. Phillips said Orton night be out cold. Edge got emotional as he set up Orton for the same move, with his head on a chair. He broke down before swinging the chair. Orton was counted down for the ten count.
WINNER: Edge in 36:00. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: If half the length, it still would have been too long. This was a ridiculously bad judgment call to have this type of match outside of the ring this long. There were some redeeming qualities in small snippets, but the length just undid all of that.)
-An energy drink commercial aired. Then a candy bar commercial starring Ric Flair, Charlotte, and Zack Ryder.
-Wrestlers were brawling with Mojo under the perch. Gronk leaped off of it into a pile and then covered Mojo. A ref counted to three and Gronk won the 24/7 Title. He ran out of the Performance Center with the belt.
-Another candy bar commercial aired.
-A commercial aired for the WWE Network special on Edge.
(5) THE STREET PROFITS vs. AUSTIN THEORY & ANGEL GARZA (w/Zelina Vega) – Raw Tag Team Title match
The Profits came out second and walked over the announce table. Dawkins and Theory opened up with some leapfrogs and fast exchanges. Ford tagged in, then all four fought. The Profits cleared the ring. Theory ducked a charging Dawkins and sent him to the floor where Garza kicked him. The heel duo controlled for a while. Ford got a hot-tag a few minutes later and rallied against Garza. Garza came back and landed a running moonsault of the top rope onto both Street Profits. Back in the ring Garza landed a moonsault on Ford for a two count. Ford fired back with an enzuigiri, then Dawkins tagged in. Theory tagged in, too, but Ford frog splashed the back of Theory and then Dawkins draped his arm over him for the three count.
WINNER: The Street Profits in 6:00 to retain the Raw Tag Team Titles.
-After the match, Garza and Theory attacked the Profits during their celebration. When Zelina joined, Bianca Belair ran out and attacked her and gave her the KOD. Her music played as she swung her pony tail around to close the segment.
-Titus O’Neal stood on the “perch,” as they’re calling it. He said he’s taking over as host of WrestleMania with Gronk having fled the venue with his 24/7 Title.
(6) BAYLEY vs. SASHA BANKS vs. TAMINA vs. NAOMI vs. LACEY EVANS – Smackdown Women’s Five-Way Elimination Match
Cole noted there are no DQs or countouts, only pinfalls or submissions. He explained the elimination rules, too. They all attacked Tamina at the start. After a Naomi landed a split-legged moonsault on Tamina, everyone piled on top of each other for the elimination.
They fought at ringside where Bayley whipped Lacey into the ringside steps. Cole said that’s the nasty aggressive side of Bayley showing. Sasha and Bayley double-teamed Naomi as Lacey recovered at ringside. Naomi kicked Bayley, then sunset flipped both of them over for a two count and a near double-elimination. Sasha applied the Bank Statement on Naomi, and Naomi tapped out. Cole couldn’t have called the application of the Bank Statement in a more subdued manner. Bayley and Sasha smiled and congratulated each other. Bayley told Naomi to go dance to the back.
JBL wondered if Sasha and Bayley eliminate Lacey, then what – who turns on who. “I’d turn on you in a heartbeat, Michael.” They double-teamed Lacey in the corner. Bayley charged at Lacey, but Lacey moved and Bayley kneed Sasha. Sasha fell to ringside. Lacey surprised Bayley with a small package for a near fall. Bayley kneed Lacey to score a two count. As Bayley mounted and punched away at Lacey, Sasha entered and yanked Bayley off. Sasha told Bayley she always had her back. Bayley said they should stay focused and talk later. Lacey charged. Bayley shoved Sasha out of the path. Lacey then surprised Sasha with a Woman’s Right and scored a three count. JBL said Bayley didn’t exactly try to break up the pin attempt, though.
Bayley took control of Lacey. Cole talked about what an achievement it’d be to retain her title in a Fatal Five-way at WrestleMania. Bayley threw Lacey shoulder-first into the ringpost. She scored a two count seconds later. Lacey caught a charging Bayley with a boot to the face a minute later. Lacey stood on the second rope, saluted, and then leaped off the top rope with a moonsault for a near fall. If she hadn’t taken time to salute no one, she might have won. Sasha re-entered and gave Lacey a back stabber. Bayley then scored the pin. JBL said that’s what friends do. Cole asked if they should read more into it. Sasha congratulated Bayley and brought her her title belt, then wrapped it around her and raised her arm. Bayley eyed Sasha suspiciously afterward, trying to figure out of they were in a good place or not. Bayley then celebrated and said nobody can touch her.
WINNER: Bayley in 19:00 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title.
-A video package aired on John Cena vs. The Fiend.
(7) JOHN CENA vs. THE FIEND – Firefly Funhouse match
Cena came out with a dopey grin and then yelled, “Welcome to Wrestle…” at which point it cut away from him to a distorted voice of Vince McMahon introducing WrestleMania. Then Friday Funhouse began. Bray Wyatt talked about silent urges coming to the forefront where monsters, angels, and demons are neighbors. He said he was going to take a look at who John really is. He said John’s toughest opponent is himself. He left the Firefly Funhouse and said it’s time for Cena to face himself. Suddenly Cena was standing in the Funhouse. He looked around, wondering how he got there. The puppets talked to him. Ramblin’ Rabbit said Bray went through the door. He told Cena to go through the door, but “be careful, dude.” Cena walked out of the door. Suddenly it was dark with foreboding music. Cena looked around. Then the Vince McMahon devil doll showed up. He talked about ruthless aggression and reaching for the stars. He poked Cena and asked if he can make the necessary sacrifices in order to be a success. “Show me or you’re fired!” he said. Then they cut to Bray smiling in the ring. Images aired of Kurt Angle vs. John Cena in Cena’s debut. Then current-day Cena came out looking like young Cena. Cena swung at Bray, Bray ducked. Bray said, “Who thought this was really going to work? It’s kind of embarrassing.” Bray said he’s living Cena’s worst nightmare. Bray taunted Cena as Cena kept swinging at him, and Bray kept ducking.
They cut to the announce table where Macho Mercy and Mr. McBossman sat. They aired the Saturday Night’s Main Event opening. Then Bray stood behind the blue cage and cut an old school type of promo. He introduced his tag team partner, Johnny Largeman. Cena walked up to him, curling barbells. Bray admired Cena’s muscles. They played “Moment of Truth” in the background. Bray threw Cena onto the entrance set of the old Smackdown by the giant fist. “Word Life” played and the Thug-o-Nomics Cena walked out. Bray welcomed him into the ring. Cena did a rap where he was rhyming. He took a dig at Bray by referring to him as Husky Harris. He called him a disappointment. The puppets groaned and booed. Cena said he’s a slut for opportunity but has blown every chance. Bray told Cena how dare he talk to him about chances. He said he had to earn everything he was given in life, yet they’re still taken from him. He said Cena is the golden goose, but he’s not a hero. “You’re a bully,” he said. “You’re a horrible person. You take the weaknesses of others and turn them into jokes. You do anything for fame, John. Congratulations, you’re the man now, John. Poor lonely John Cena. This is your chance. The floor is yours.” He backed into the corner. Cena seemed to contemplate what he said, but then then held up a bag of nuts and said all Bray gets are “deez nuts up in your face.” Bray appeared behind Cena, then knocked him down and out.
Bray Wyatt suddenly was back at his cabin rocking in a rocking chair. He said he had the whole world in his hands. He said Abigail spoke of this day his entire life. “You were supposed to be a man of the people,” he said. “Then why weren’t you listening? They wanted me, they needed me.” They cut to fans singing “Whole World in his Hands.” He said it was supposed to be a prophesy fulfilled, but it was his grandest failure. Bray said he can’t remember what it’s like to feel, but it’s time to rewrite his story. “Run!” he said. Then he charged and splashed Cena in the corner. He spun Cena around and tried to give him the Sister Abigail, but Cena escaped. Bray held up a chair. Cena snatched it away. Bray kneeled and said six years ago Cena made the wrong choice. They showed Bray kneeling six years ago. “Fix it, John.” John swung the chair, but Bray just disappeared. Cena looked around, confused.
Bray then came out to the ring imitating Eric Bischoff in a leather jacket, interspersed with Bischoff clips from WCW Nitro. Then Cena came out, dressed in an NWO shirt through the old Nitro entrance set. They went to Mr. McBossman who said, “This is such good shit.” Bray and Cena high-fived in NWO t-shirts. Cena tacked bray and punched away at him. The puppets freaked out and told Cena to stop. Cena suddenly was punching the pig instead of Bray. The Fiend showed up behind Cena at that point. Cena stood and sensed it. Fiend put the Mandible Claw on Cena and then switched to Sister Abigail. They played Cena saying this match would end the most overhyped, overprivileged WWE Superstar. Fiend then hit the move and applied the Mandible Claw. Cena was knocked out. Bray counted to three, then laughed into the camera. Fiend stood over Cena and extended his arms. Cena then disappeared suddenly. The screen went black. Fiend said, “Let me in!”
(Keller’s Analysis: I thought that was a real blast. Probably somewhat polarizing, but really clever and elaborately edited. A lot to talk about with that.)
-They cut to Titus who was speechless. “I don’t know what I just saw,” he said.
-Phillips and Saxton threw to a McIntyre-Lesnar video package.
(8) BROCK LESNAR vs. DREW MCINTYRE – WWE Title match
They did formal ring introductions, and then Drew and Brock had a staredown. Lesnar kicked Drew in the gut at the start and then shouldered him in the corner. Drew reversed Brock into the corner and landed the Claymore Kick for a dramatic two count. Saxton said no one has ever kicked out of the Claymore. Drew looked concerned. He then leaned back and called for Brock to get up. Drew went for it, but Brock moved. Brock then gave Drew a German suplex. Lesnar went for another, but Drew held onto the top rope. Lesnar tried again and got him over for a second suplex. Heyman yelled, “This will be quick, but it won’t be painless.” Lesnar gave Drew an F5, but Drew kicked out at one! Lesnar hit another F5. Drew kicked out at two. Lesnar got wide-eyed. They’ve both kicked out of each other’s signature finishers so far. This was expected. Now what, though?…
Lesnar lifted Drew for a third F5 and he hit it. Drew kicked out again, but it was closer. Lesnar looked confused. Heyman told Lesnar, “He’s really good. Do it again. Keep doing it all night long. He can’t keep kicking out.” Lesnar stood and looked down at Drew. Drew crawled over and grabbed at his boots. Lesnar laughed and said, “All night long. You really want to do this.” Drew shoved Lesnar off of him into the ropes, then landed a Claymore on the rebound. He called for him to get up. He gave him another Claymore. Lesnar went down. Drew leaned in the corner and delivered another. He made the cover. 1-2-3. Heyman looked dispirited at ringside. Drew let out a huge yell and celebrated with the belt mid-ring. He looked emotionally down at the belt and the fallen Lesnar.
WINNER: McIntyre in 4:00 to capture the WWE Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m fine with the length of that. They packed a lot of drama into that time and delivered a conclusive finish. I get that Drew ideally would have won in front of a crowd, but I also understand WWE not wanting to put on hold everything they had planned indefinitely, especially if Drew is going to be more accessible at TV events than Lesnar in coming weeks or months if they keep running fresh content on Raw.)
-As Drew stood on the ropes and celebrated, Phillips signed off and thanked everyone for watching.
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