WrestleMania 32: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

So let’s get right into it…I wrote in my last blog a few of my issues with the card going into this past Sunday’s WrestleMania 32 and those issues I had weren’t addressed by WWE in any way shape or form. In fact, I believe they were magnified, highlighted and double-underlined. It’s like the creative team just threw up their arms and said “Whatever you want, Vince!” — which I’m pretty sure isn’t far off from what actually happened in the creative meeting going into the show. So let’s break it down here and I’ll explain why I really hated the outcomes of about 95% of this show.

Fist off, I want to let it be known that for as much as I didn’t like the outcomes of the matches…the matches themselves were mostly quite good and the guys and girls wrestling in the matches did the best they could with what they were given. Problem is, they weren’t given a whole heck of a lot to work with.

First on my list here starts with the ladder match for the WWE Intercontinental Title. I was actually stuck at work while this match went down, so I figured I’d pick up WrestleMania live and go back and watch whatever I missed the next day. Problem is…on the Network, the “Preshow” is two hours long and includes the Total Divas 10-woman tag match, the Tag Team Tables match between the Dudley Boys & the Usos and the US Title match between Ryback & Kalisto. So I figured I needed to watch the actual WrestleMania show…choose to watch that, and it starts at the beginning of the Womens’ Title match, skipping Jericho vs. Styles and the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match. So I guess I’m SOL in terms of actually seeing the match itself where Zack Ryder won the title.

I found out Zack won the title via a backstage interview with Zack after winning the match, where he speaks about being a fan of Razor Ramon growing up, being at WrestleMania X and watching the ladder match live, etc. So I’m gonna put it out there right here…and I want to be completely open and honest with what I’m about to say here. I love the hell out of Zack Ryder. I was a big fan of his Z! True Long Island Story, I think the guy is far more talented than WWE has portrayed him as recently. My problem here is that for the last 3+ years, WWE has not portrayed the guy on TV in a positive light. Since losing the US Title and having his girlfriend stolen by John Cena, Zack Ryder has been a fucking jobber. So much so that when Kevin Owens was putting together the triple-threat match for a shot at his Intercontinental Title, he included Zack Ryder in it as a joke. Because he’s a heel and wants to take the easy way out and give himself an easy title defense at WrestleMania, Zack Ryder was thrown into this mach. THIS IS NOT A REASON TO PUT A TITLE ON SOMEONE!

It’s been said time and time again by those who have been there and have been main attractions for WWE, that a title doesn’t make a man, the man makes the title. IE: slapping a well established title on someone does not bring that person up to the level of that title, it devalues the title because said superstar is thought of to be a notch or two below those who were previously competing for it. And even as I type this, they’ve already moved the title off Zack onto The Miz last night on Raw, which just further validates my opinion here, because if Zack Ryder meant anything to WWE, they wouldn’t have had him lose the title in his first defense the night after winning it.

Next up, we had AJ Styles losing to Chris Jericho. Oh joy! So let me get this straight…Jericho can’t beat Fan-fucking-dango at WrestleMania, but when it comes to a multiple time former World Heavyweight Champion in Ring of Honor, New Japan Pro Wrestling and TNA Wrestling, Chris Jericho has all the answers. Sure, ok. So let’s take another fresh, new asset who will be on the road with the company every week, performing on Raw and also probably Smackdown and at all the house shows, throw him in the ring with a guy who comes and goes as he pleases in between his various concert tours for his band and have the guy who will have to draw interest from the fanbase and have him lose to the guy who will be going away again. CM Punk talked about this on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast back when he had to lose to Triple H, Brock Lesnar & The Rock. It’s the constant question of “What’s next?” and he never got the answer from anyone he asked, whether it be Triple H himself, Vince McMahon or anyone in creative. So they book every show in the now and don’t worry about anything that happens the next day, month or year, So if you were thinking of buying an AJ Styles shirt because you like the guy and hope he does well in WWE, be prepared see him lose to plenty of returning stars from the past since that’s what they do these days.

Speaking of returning stars, while it was great to see Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Steve Austin come out, once again the guys of today (Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev & King Barrett) all get laid out by returning stars. Now don’t get me wrong, but when’s the last time you heard of a 50-year old beating the hell out of a 30-year old in the prime shape of his life? Not very often, right? Yeah, well that seemed to happen all over the card Sunday night, and I’m not sure if it’s just Vince McMahon trying to deny his own mortality in believing that young guys don’t have an upper hand in conditioning, but if you want to talk conditioning…Shawn looked to be in the best shape of the three considering Mick Foley can’t tie his own shoes and Steve Austin looked to be lugging around an old tire under his shirt.  It’s just another time when you just have to shake your head and wonder what Vince and Company have against the current crop of talent, because if they showed them even half the amount of love and respect that has been given to the top stars of the past, they wouldn’t put on segments like this.

Next up on my docket of gripes with this show is something I touched on in my last blog prior to WrestleMania, and that’s Brock Lesnar defeating Dean Ambrose in their street fight. Brock Lesnar completely had his way with Ambrose, aside from a few times when Ambrose kept heading out to get more weapons to use on Lesnar, this match was quite easy for Brock. Even in this day and age when everyone kicks out of eachother’s finishers with ease, it only took one F-5 to put away Dean Ambrose. So as I stated in the last blog, Ambrose needed this win more than ever. Brock could have given him quite a rub by being defeated, but instead Ambrose gets slapped down once again and we’re told not to get behind this guy because just like everyone else in this generation, he just simply doesn’t matter. Welcome to Dolph Ziggler country, Dean!

While I’m on Brock Lesnar here, I might as well move on to the man he defeated at WrestleMania two years ago…The Undertaker. Undertaker took on Shane McMahon in a Hell In A Cell match in which control of Monday Night Raw was on the line for Shane to win. Also by winning control of Raw, he would also be ending Undertaker’s WrestleMania career since Vince decided to make the stipulation that should Undertaker lose this match, this would be his last WrestleMania. Now putting aside all the gaping storyline holes like how should Shane get control, he could quite simply just make that stip null and void and put Undertaker into future WrestleMania matches against opponents of his choosing. Secondly, since there was some sort of prior agreement between he and Vince, which gave Shane the power to take control of the company whenever he saw fit, why did he agree to wrestle this match at all in the first place. So while he may quite possibly be one of the dumbest executives in the world, he’s also quite possibly the toughest executive in the history of the universe! This man kicked out of the Undertaker’s Last Ride powerbomb, reversed the Hells Gate choke and even managed to get up under his own power after missing an elbowdrop from the top of the Cell and asked for more from Undertaker! Brock Lesnar ain’t got nothin’ on this guy! This really goes to show ya that two years ago was truly a fluke win that Lesnar got on Undertaker. I’d hate to see what Shane O Mac could do in a UFC ring!

Finally, we got the main event where a seemingly rather uninspired Triple H lost the WWE World Heavyweight Title to Roman Reigns. This match had no spark to it at all, and I’m not sure if the match was really that bad or if I was just finished by this point after being disgusted with so many of the finishes of previous matches plus the fact that this show was 7 f’n hours long! In the end, they refused to listen to the crowd again and went with the original plan all along by putting the title back on Roman Reigns regardless of all the apathy the live crowds have shown the guy over the last year plus and they ended up closing out the show with 101,763 booing fans.

On the flip side of things, I’ve been saying that I didn’t like 95% of the show, so let me tell you what worked for me…what counts for that other 5% of the show that I DID actually like. First off, the triple threat match for the newly re-christened WWE Womens’ Championship was one fantastic match. All three ladies got bigtime WrestleMania entrances and were given time to have a well thought out triple threat match. Specifically, Sasha Banks’ entrance with her cousin, Snoop Dogg was very cool and I also got goosebumps seeing Charlotte Flair come out in the blue robe that I didn’t even need to be told it was made from her father Ric’s robe. Both super special entrances to set the stage for the awesome match that followed.

Also, I liked the Andre The Giant Battle Royal…specifically some of the non-advertised talent that were entered in it. It was nice to see Damian Sandow in the match, I also popped big for Diamond Dallas Page (who I knew wouldn’t last long) but since I knew he wouldn’t be put over anyone that supposedly meant anything, use of legends in this case is good. Also it’s been established that the winner of this Battle Royal really didn’t matter in the end anyway, so who really cares who wins. And while I’m glad that Baron Corbin won as he made his main roster debut in this match, I just hope that he doesn’t meet the fate that Cesaro did after he won the Andre Battle Royal. He’s a big guy who can really deliver in his matches if allowed to. I’d really hate to see him get the treatment that a lot of NXT talent have gotten upon ascension to the main roster.

Anyway as the guys on PWInsider stated, do not go out of your way to see this show. If you have time and have the WWE Network, sure the work by everyone involved was good, but the storylines and the outcomes were all quite lacking. I would definitely not watch this one again as it just continued to make me more & more angry as the show trudged on.

If you’re still with me, thanks for reading. Until next time, that’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

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