Liv Morgan vs. Natalya: This match was almost identical to the other preshow match yesterday — promising, with some solid exchanges. I started to have my interest piqued aaannnddd then it was done. Why, WWE? Just why? You have an hour before the show begins, don’t tease me with a match that starts to look promising and then just end it. The one detail I will note is I did enjoy that Liv got the pin in a sequence with pins back to back to back. Normally you don’t see those actually ending in a pin. This one did, and I like it…if only that sequence had happened five minutes later.
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (NXT Women’s Championship): I loved the emotion from both women. I mentioned yesterday in my review of Night 1 that I loved the taunting in Rollins vs. Owens, and this match for sure had it as well. It was overall an extremely slow match, and one that would have been pretty boring without a crowd. But the taunting, the screams, and the animosity the two showed was excellent. It made up for the lack of screaming fans and had me clinging onto every move.
I initially disagreed with the result but am starting to come around to it. It’s for sure a lot less confusing than why they went with the Becky/Shayna finish. The end to this match allows Charlotte to move to NXT full time which is what they wanted and may actually do more for making NXT seem like a legitimate main card than if Rhea won. Overall it was an extremely strong start to Night 2. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley: I liked the story of the match, with Aleister thinking he was going to have to grapple and couldn’t just rely on striking at first, only to realize that that he should have never gone away from his specialty. I liked the end as well — we’ve seen Lana mess Lashley up before like this, and it’s a solid little plot. But damn if I wasn’t extremely disapointed with how short this match was.
It was so short in fact that it honestly really ruined the match for me. It’s WrestleMania! I want Aleister to show off what he can do, but instead it just felt like a filler match on Raw. It was an absolutely fine match to build characters but it was not a WrestleMania match by any means.
Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler: Honestly, I was really enjoying how cheesy this plot was. I was honestly invested it in. But the match itself just did not hold up. There was absolutely no energy bewteen the two, the animosity I felt in the women’s match was completely absent in this one, and this match warranted it so much more. For the culmination of a pretty solid albeit cheesy plot, this match just did not do it justice.
Sometimes a good plot can make up for a bad match, but for that to happen a crowd is needed. I am certain that if there was a crowd this match would have been a lot of fun, but the crutch of a crowd was not there, and it exposed the match for just how weak it was.
Edge vs. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing Match): This seems to be the most divisive match of the night, with roughly two thirds of people loving it and the rest being bored out of their minds. I was in the latter category. The first five minutes were solid and the last five minutes were incredible but the middle thirty or so dragged on so so long. There were a couple solid creative uses of the Performance Center, but 90% of it was just slamming each other into metal.
I get that the goal of the match was to have a sense of ever-growing dread; however, it didn’t come across to me after the initial blows. This may have been because I was not around for Edge, but I think that if a match needs to rely purely on feelings for someone that had been developed nine years ago, it didn’t do its job properly in the here and now.
Once again, I think dialogue or something to fill some of the silence that made up about 95% of the match would have been good. Some amount of dramatic silence is good, but when most of a match that is 40ish minutes long is just the two men panting, you need something to change things up here and there.
Street Profits (c) vs. Austin Theory and Angel Garza (Raw Tag Team Championship): This was an odd transition from one match to another but something had to go here, and there were only one or two other options to go with. There’s not too much to say about this match, honestly — it felt like a normal Raw match. I’m fine with that though, as there were some fun sequences and I absolutely loved Zelina’s outfit.
The most interesting part was the end when Bianca came in. I hope that this signals were going to see more of her; however, I am a bit worried that this is establishing something where she has no personal feuds and just becomes a secondary character. We shall see.
Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina (SmackDown Women’s Championship): A solid match. I went into it half hearted and a little frustrated thinking that Sasha turning on Bayley was happening so quickly without any build to it, so I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t pull the trigger yet. I was also extremely worried in the back half of the match that Lacey would win and they honestly did a good job convincing you she was going to, especially with her salute from the top rope.
The rest of the match was good as well. As with all large matches like this, I enjoyed all the different factions coming together and breaking apart. My one real critique of the match is they have not been giving Naomi the screen time she deserves. I was hoping that this match would give her a lot more time but she was a relatively small player in the match overall. Overall, not a groundbreaking match but it was really solid and entertaining.
Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena (Firefly Funhouse Match): I don’t think I can do this match (if you can call it that) justice without writing a whole article. Luckily, my editor has already done just that: please go read his great piece on this amazing segment.
The one thing I will note is it has been truly interesting to see how promotions have adapted to the current situation, forcing them to be more and more creative. If there’s a silver lining for wrestling fans from this whole mess we are in as a world, it’s what new arrows wrestling will have in its quiver once this is all over.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship): Why was this match the main event? I am positive absolutely no one watched it because they were all still too busy on social media after the Funhouse match. However, after putting it on again to rewatch it later, I still wasn’t too impressed.
I actually like Lesnar’s character: the big boss at the end of the game, the one who appears occasionally, wrecks house, and then leaves. Due to this, it’s understandable why when Lesnar loses, the matches are not typically long ones. However, this one was just over just way too quick. I would have liked to see a bit more than both of them trading finishers a couple times, some substantial amount of drama or suspense. It was a bit of a disappointing finish to a surprisingly solid second night of the most bizarre WrestleMania ever.
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