|Date: April 4, 2020
|Venue: WWE Performance Center |City: Orlando, Florida
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
Stephanie McMahon kicks off the show in front of a green screen set announcing that because of covid there will be no fans tonight and tomorrow.
There’s a montage of singers singing America The Beautiful from Wrestlemania’s gone by. Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Aloe Blacc, John Legend, Little Richard, Willie Nelson and more.
There’s a bizarre pirate-themed video package to open the show.
The host of Wrestlemania, Gronk welcomes us to the show. He’s joined by Mojo Rawley in the most annoying opening segment of any show ever.
The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) (c) vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross – Women’s Tag Team Championship match
Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two teams, The Kabuki Warrios beat Bliss and Cross for the titles at Hell In A Cell 2019.
Wrestlemania Record: Alexa is 0-2, Asuka is 0-1 and the other two girls wrestle on the Wrestlemania main card for the first time tonight.
Match: Kairi Sane and Alexa Bliss kick off the match and mock each other. The girls make a lot of noise to make up for the lack of crowd. Nikki and Asuka are soon tagged in and take the fight to the outside. Nikki and Alexa dive out from the apron to their opponents. The champions soon take control and keep Nikki away from her partner. All four girls looking for a first Wrestlemania win tonight. Nikki makes a hot tag to Bliss who fires up on Sane. Sane hits a stomp to the face for a near fall. Alexa makes a hot tag to Nikki who picks up the pace. Kairi rakes the eyes as Asuka distracts the official to give the champions the advantage. Nikki hits a swinging neckbreaker but as she makes the pinfall on Asuka it’s Kairi Sane with an insane elbow to break it up. Asuka tries to lock the Asuka lock on Nikki but Alexa comes off the top with twister bliss before Kairo drops Bliss with a spear. The champions hit a doubke powerbomb/forearm on Nikki for a near fall. Nikki hits a swinging neckbreaker on Sane, tags in Alexa who hits twister bliss for the three!
Result: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross win the women’s tag team championships by pinfall.
Review: This wasn’t a bad tag team match. The girls really went for it. It wasn’t amazing and I think the lack of crowd hurt it. But it was a solid opener and they must have had a lot of faith in the four girls to have them open Wrestlemania. Bliss and Cross regain the championships, it’s nice to see the titles get a spotlight.
Kayla is backstage with Sami Zayn, Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. Sami is tired of hearing that it is inevitable that Daniel Bryan will win the Intercontinental Championship tonight.
There’s an ad for WWE shirts.
Shayna Baszler is shown getting warmed up backstage.
King Corbin is out for his match and then shows us a clip of him kicking Elias off the balcony last week.
Elias vs. King Corbin
Background: Elias has been a constant thorn in Corbins side as of late leading to Gronk making a match betweenthe two at Wrestlemania. Corbin would try and stop the match from happening by kicking Elias off the balcony in the arena.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Wrestlemania Record: Corbin is 2-0 at Wrestlemania, Elias wrestles at this show for the first time.
Match: Corbin tries to attack Elias as he makes his entrance but Elias smashes his guitar into Corbins back and then thorws him into the ringpost. The match officially begins and it’s all Elias in the early going. Corbin takes control with a back body drop and follows it up with his trademark clothesline. Corbin screams at Michael Cole and John “Bradshaw” Layfield who have commentated on the first two matches. Alias hits the drift away for a near fall. Corbin hits deep six for a near fall. Corbin attempts a pinfall with his feet on the ropes but the referee sees it and stops the count. Corbin isn’t happy but Elias rolls him up from behind and pulls the tights for the three!
Result: Elias wins by pinfall.
Review: This match wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful but it was just there. It could have been on Smackdown, it didn’t have the main event feel but again, no crowd makes these seem a bit flat. It’s a big win for Elias and I bekieve it’s his first PPV victory.
There’s a video package next for Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler.
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler – Raw Women’s Championship match
Background: Prior to Survivor Series, a rivalry began between Raw’s Becky Lynch and NXT’s Shayna Baszler. At the event, Baszler won the non-title brand supremacy Triple Threat match between the three brands’ women’s champions by submitting SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley. An irate Lynch attacked Baszler following the match and put her through an announce table. After losing the NXT Women’s Championship, Baszler appeared as the thirtieth entrant in the women’s Royal Rumble match, finishing as the runner-up. Following Lynch’s title defense on the February 10 episode of Raw, Baszler ambushed Lynch and bit the back of her neck, thus reigniting their feud. Baszler was then entered into Raw’s women’s Elimination Chamber match at the namesake event where she single-handedly eliminated all of her opponents to win and earn herself a Raw Women’s Championship match against Lynch at WrestleMania.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles match between these two girls.
Wrestlemania PPV Record: Becky is 1-2 at Wrestlemania, Shayna wrestles at this event for the first time tonight.
Match: Becky arrives to the arena in a big truck with her own face on the side. The two girls slug it out in the early going and Shayna looks to lock on the kirafuta clutch early but Becky stops that from happening. Both girls regularly attempt to lock on their respective submission holds but neither can get it applied. Becky hits a rock bottom type move on the apron. Baszler locks on an armbar and then the disarm-her but Becky escapes. On the outside Shayna repeatedly bashes Lynch’s head into the announce desk. Shayna manages to lock on the kirafuta clutch but Becky bridges backwards and pins Baszler’s shoulders to the mat for the three!
Result: Becky Lynch retains her Raw Women’s Championship by pinfall.
Review: This wasn’t great. These matches feel flat because of the lack of crowd. It’s unfair to rate it really badly because of the lack of the crowd but the match itself just wasn’t amazing. Becky wins tonight which slows Shayna’s momentum but the way this finished suggests that it isn’t the last we’ll see of these two.
There’s an ad for the upcoming Undertaker documentary.
Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan – Intercontinental Championship match
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles PPV match between these two men.
Wrestlemania Record: Daniel Bryan is 5-2, Sami Zayn is 0-2.
Match: Damiel Bryan has Drew Gulak in his corner, Sami Zayn has Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro in his. Sami is reluctant to get in the ring in the early going. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura get involved, helping to distract Daniel Bryan but Drew Gulak disposes of them. Zayn then looks for the countout victory but Daniel Bryan goes after him and gets him back into the ring. It’s all Daniel Bryan from here until Cesaro and Nakamura showing back up is a big enough distraction for Zayn to hit a helluva kick as Bryan comes off the top. Sami then hooks the leg and gets the three!
Result: Sami Zayn retains the Intercontinental Championship by pinfall.
Review: This wasn’t a bad match for the most part but the finish was weak. Daniel Bryan lost via kick to the face. Which I guess he did to Sheamus back at Wrestlemania 29 too. Still, this finish did nothing for Bryan. It’s a big win for Sami Zayn though who has a lot of steam as the cowardly heel.
John Morrison (c) vs. Jimmy Uso vs. Kofi Kingston – Triple threat ladder match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Background: This was supposed to be a triple threat tag team match with The Miz jhoining John Morrison to defend against The Usos and The New Day but The Miz was pulled due to illness so this was made a singles match with a representation from each team.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time triple threat match between these three men.
Wrestlemania Record: Jimmy Uso is 1-1, Kofi Kingston is 2-6 and John Morrison is 1-2.
Match: All three men grab ladders early and there’s a couple of bumps. Jimmy Uso grabs his leg early, he looked hurt as he fell off a ladder. Morrison and Kingston exchange kicks as they bounce around. Jimmy’s knee seems in better shape as he gets back involved. He and Morrison dispose of Kofi before Morrison hits Uso with a corkscrew off the top as Jimmy lays on a ladder. Kofi hits a big leaping hurricanrana on Morrison off the ladder. There’s a nice spot with John Morrison balancing across the top rope from one side of the ring to the other and then hitting a Spanish fly on Kofi. Jimmy Uso then hits a splash on Morrison. Jimmy takes the advantage until Morrison pushes him off a ladder to the outside. All three men get into it and battle at the top of the ladders. They all manage to pull down the bracket with the titles on but Morrison gets shoved off the ladder and takes the titles with him to be declared the winner!
Result: John Morrison retains the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
Review: This was a fun ladder match. It’s a shame not to hear the crowd for some of these spots but still, the three guys in the match did a really good job. Maybe I’d have preferred to have seen a 5 way handicap match if Miz couldn’t wrestle but this was still good.
There’s an ad for the WWE Network.
There’s a video package next for Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins
Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
Background: At Survivor Series, Seth Rollins served as the captain of Team Raw for the men’s Survivor Series elimination match, but questioned Kevin Owens’ loyalty to the team due to Owens appearing at NXT TakeOver: WarGames; Raw suffered a devastating loss at Survivor Series, only winning one of the seven interbrand matches. Rollins criticized the Raw roster for their poor performance and again questioned Owens’ loyalty, who responded by performing a Stunner on Rollins. Owens then became the target of AOP (Akam and Rezar). Although Owens accused Rollins of being behind AOP’s attacks, Rollins denied the accusations, though he ultimately joined with AOP, turning heel. Rollins then began to refer to himself as the “Monday Night Messiah” and recruited Murphy into his new faction with AOP; Rollins and Murphy eventually won the Raw Tag Team Championship together. At the Royal Rumble, Rollins eliminated Owens from the namesake match thanks to help from AOP and Murphy. Rollins and Murphy lost their titles on an episode of Raw, and during a rematch at Elimination Chamber, Owens cost them their match and performed a Stunner on Rollins afterward.The following night on Raw, Rollins challenged Owens to a match, and Owens accepted for WrestleMania.
Previous PPV matches: Kevin Owens is 2-0 against Seth Rollins on PPV.
Wrestlemania Record: Seth Rollins is 6-1, Kevin Owens is 1-2.
Match: Seth Rollins arrives alone for this match. A lot of the match is on the outside in the early going with Rollins attempting to escape the clutches of KO. Seth gets back into it with a back body drop and falcon arrow on the apron. Lots of smack talking in this one. Owens avoids a couple of stomps and hits a DDT. Seth hits a buckle bomb and a couple of superkicks but Owens hits a pop-up powerbomb for a near fall. Rollins then nails Owens with the bell and the referee announces that Owens wins by disqualification! That seemed cut short. Owens grabs a mic and asks for the match to be continued under no disqualification rules so we go again. Rollins fires up as the match restarts and rams KO with the ring steps. Seth uses a chair but Owens plants Rollins with the ring bell. Owens then disappears and then re-appears on top of the Wrestlemania sign! Owens dives off with an elbow drop, putting Rollins through the announce desk! Back in the ring KO hits a stunner for the three.
Result: Kevin Owens wins by pinfall.
Review: This was a good match. The psychology was good, it told a good story and in the end it was Kevin Owens who got the win. That’s a big win for KO as Rollins has been on a real roll recently. I loved the spot with Owens diving off the Wrestlemania sign.
There’s an ad for WWE Championships.
Over to Gronk and Mojo. R-Truth interupts them paranoid about losing his 24/7 title. Gronk hits a soft forearm and Mojo pins Truth to win the 24/7 title.
There’s an ad for a Drew McIntyre documentary on the WWE Network.
Charly Caruso is backstage when Paul Heyman shows up and verbally lays into Drew McIntyre.
The commentators talk through the card for night two.
Goldberg (c) vs. Braun Strowman – Universal Championship match
Background: After winning SmackDown’s Universal Championship at Super ShowDown, WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg appeared on the following night’s episode of SmackDown and issued an open challenge by stating his catchphrase, “Who’s next?” Roman Reigns interrupted and had a stare down with Goldberg before accepting his challenge, which was subsequently scheduled for WrestleMania. Just before the event, however, Reigns, requested to be removed from the match for being at an increased risk for COVID-19, as he was in an immunocompromised state from his previous health issues with leukemia; Reigns himself confirmed the report and stated that WWE honored the request. Triple H also confirmed the report in a March 29 interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Five days later on the April 3 episode of SmackDown, Braun Strowman was announced as Reigns’ replacement in the match, making this the first WrestleMania since WrestleMania XXVIII where Reigns was not featured.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time match between these two men.
Wrestlemania Record: Braun Strowman is 1-0, Goldberg is 1-1.
Match: Goldberg counters a running powerslam in the early going and then hits three spears but Strowman kicks out of the pinfall attempt. Goldberg hits a fourth spear and looks for a jackhammer but Braun counters with a powerslam. Strowman hits three more powerslams and pins Goldberg for the three!
Result: Braun Strowman wins the Universal Championship by pinfall.
Review: This was your classic, short, Goldberg match. Braun was a fill-in tonight but he walks away with the Universal Championship. It was a match of spears and powerslams. Strowman has deserved a world title reign so I look forward to seeing how he is as champion. I guess that may be the last we see of Goldberg for a while.
There’s an ad for Wrestlemania next year in Hollywood.
Video package next for The Undertaker and AJ Styles.
The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles – Boneyard Match
Background: At Super ShowDown, AJ Styles was a participant in the Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy gauntlet match. Final participant Rey Mysterio was ambushed backstage by Styles’ O.C. teammates Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, prompting Styles to declare himself the winner by forfeit. The referee gave Mysterio until the count of ten, during which, the camera cut backstage, showing that Gallows and Anderson had been attacked by The Undertaker, making a surprise return. Undertaker then made his entrance, taking Mysterio’s place, and performed a Chokeslam on Styles to win the match and the trophy. On the following Raw, a disgruntled Styles mocked Undertaker for still wrestling and issued a warning. The Undertaker then appeared at Elimination Chamber and cost Styles his No Disqualification match with Aleister Black. The following night on Raw, Styles taunted Undertaker by bringing up his wife Michelle McCool, blaming her for why Undertaker keeps coming back to wrestle, while also calling Undertaker by his real name, Mark Calaway. Styles then challenged Undertaker to a match at WrestleMania. A contract signing for the match was conducted the following week. Styles then challenged Undertaker to a Boneyard match, and Undertaker accepted, cutting a promo akin to his “American Bad Ass” gimmick (circa 2000–2003).
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Wrestlemania Record: AJ Styles is 3-1, Undertaker is 24-2.
Match: This is a cinematic match set in a graveyard. AJ arrives in a hearse, Undertaker on a motorbike. Undertaker lays into AJ in the early going but then puts his arm through the car window. Undertaker hammers Styles into a dug grave and that’s when Gallows and Anderson show up. They’re joined by a dozen druids. Undertaker takes out the druids but then gets beaten down by Gallows and Anderson. Undertaker fights back but AJ drops him with a breeze block. AJ spears Undertaker through a fence and talks some smack to which Undertaker replies with a middle finger. Styles then smashes Undertaker with a shovel, sending him into the grave. AJ gets in a mini jcb and there’s an awesome shot of Undertaker appearing behind him. AJ scarpers up a ladder onto the roof of the building but Undertaker follows and throws Karl Anderson off the roof before hitting Luke Gallows with a tombstone. Undertaker then chokeslams AJ offthe roof! AJ tries apologising and Undertaker humours him before botting him into the grave. Undertaker then fills the grave up with dirt before revealing the headstone with AJ’s name on.
Result: The Undertaker wins by burial.
Review: This was a really fun match. Cinematic matches definitely have their place and I really enjoyed this one. There’s a lot of flexibility with these matches and a lot that can be done with them. Undertaker wins tonight and rides into the sunset.
And that was night one of Wrestlemania 36. This was a really difficult pay per view to review. With the crowd not being there, matches pre-recorded and edited it was unlike any major event they have broadcast before. It wasn’t awful but it didn’t feel like Wrestlemania. The opener was a decent enough tag team match. The shouting soon got on my nerves but Nikki and Alexa becoming tag team champions again was a bit of a surprise. Elias then beat Corbin in a fairly poor match. Becky beat Shayna in a match that was really missing a spark. I wonder if this should have opened the show but the quality wasn’t there really. Shayna’s momentum is stopped but can anybody beat Becky at the moment? Sami Zayn beat Daniel Bryan in a decent enough match. I like the chemistry here and I like Zayn as Intercontinental Champion. No crowd just affects the matches so much, this could easily have been an 8 out of 10 with a pumped crowd.
John Morrison retained the Smackdown Tag Team Championships in a fun ladder match. I know there were retakes in this and with the crowd not being there it meant they could fall of crash mats so it wasn’t the same but it was still fun. Again, this could have had a much higher rating if it was contested under normal circumstances. Kevin Owens beat Seth Rollins in a decent enough match. I loved Owens diving off the Wrestlemania sign, great spot there. They might go down the rematch route with this one, we’ll have to see. Braun Strowman beat Goldberg to win the Universal Championship in a career high for him. It was a short match, one we’ve come to expect from Goldberg. Braun filled in for Roman Reigns here but it’s benefitted him well considering he wasn’t originally on the card at all. Finally The Undertaker beat AJ Styles in a really good cinematic boneyard match. I’d definitely be up for seeing more of these, especially with someone like Undertaker who doesn’t have too many traditional matches left in him. I really enjoyed this, it was different. Not sure how well it would work if a live crowd were watching it on the tron but for the viewer at home it was a lot of fun.
Wrestlemania 36 Night One Rating: 59.64/100 (ranked joint 178th out of 387)
Match Of The Night: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
Worst Match Of The Night: Elias vs. King Corbin
Surprise Of The Night: New women’s tag team champions
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Braun Strowman
Wrestlemania 36 Part 1 Will Be Remembered For: The first WWE PPV with no crowd, Braun Strowman winning the Universal Championship and the Boneyard Match