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Chris Jericho Versus Kenny Omega: Is There more to This Story?



With rumors circulating for well over a year about Kenny Omega joining the ranks of the WWE, and after a couple of weeks of back-and-forth jabs being thrown via Twitter, it was revealed that the fans will get a dream match for the ages on January 4th, 2018. Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega will face each other at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 in the Tokyo Dome for Omega’s IWGP United States Championship. There are many things floating around the web surrounding this crème de la crème match, but the question that begs for an answer: is there more going on here? This reveal of this match leaves folks like me wondering what truly is happening. Maybe looking into the years leading up to this match will help us answer some of the questions for ourselves. Analyzing the interactions that both NJPW and WWE have had with other companies can help us gain some perspective on their respective business models. And yes, I am bringing up business because a match of this caliber is best for both businesses in my opinion. But first, let us take a look at the tale of the tape.

Despite Jericho stating multiple times over the years that he would only wrestle for WWE, it is obvious now that such is not the case. We have already witnessed an attempted invasion of RAW in Ontario, CA by the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega’s running buddies in The Elite, who also call New Japan home. This “invasion” that saw the Bullet Club show up in front of the Citizens Business Bank Arena led to former creative writer and longtime indie wrestling star Jimmy Jacobs, to be terminated for taking a selfie. It seemed innocent enough at first, but the photo taken with Cody Rhodes, Adam “Hangman” Page, and Marty Scurll led directly to the ousting of Jacobs from the ranks of WWE.

We are now aware that the Young Bucks will be one of the headlining acts at Jericho’s Rock N Roll Wrestling Rager at Sea. When the short Twitter war between Jericho and Omega began, speculation abounded that they were building to a match that would take place on this cruise ship event that Jericho happens to funding himself. Instead, as seen in the video above, the ante was upped significantly and it has become Alpha vs. Omega at the Tokyo Dome. The Young Bucks call Ring of Honor and New Japan their respective North American and Japanese homes.

Signing The Bucks to wrestle on his cruise is what most likely what set Jericho on this path of working with other promotions, especially NJPW, which ran a pair of events in the U.S. on July 1st and 2nd and just announced that they will return on March 25th. The July events sold out faster than a bullet from a gun and you can expect the same when tickets are announced for a venue almost double the size in March.

Courtesy of

One of the rumors that I want to address here is Chris Jericho’s contract status. Jericho is NOT presently under contract with WWE. So, this match should be no indication of a feud with the company that was his bread and butter, mainstay for 18 years. One important thing to remember here is that if Jericho competes at WrestleMania in 2018, and I believe he will, the self-proclaimed “Greatest of All-Time” would be only the third wrestler in history to wrestle at both WWE’s and NJPW’s marquee events. The first to do this was AJ Styles in 2016, followed by Cody Rhodes who participated at WrestleMania in 2016 and Wrestle Kingdom in 2017. I would also like to reiterate that Jericho, in doing this match, is returning to NJPW at its most explosive period in many, many years.

So, what’s the big deal about Kenny Omega? I have been asked by many of my personal friends why I subscribe to more than just the monopolized WWE product of the states. My answer is this: I remember the days of territories and how they fed the true talent to the major promotions. I remember, as a kid, getting the opportunity to see dream matches across promotions. This is what this match as well as WWE’s acquisition of Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows is all about to me. Omega himself mentioned in his promo regarding Jericho’s challenge that he himself always felt that he would bring NJPW to the world stage. I honestly believe that he will. I also want to give those of you who may not follow as hardcore as I do some insight on who this man, The End, The Omega is.

Kenny Omega is such an avid gamer that he took his ring name and his dubbed his finishing move based on the Final Fantasy video game series. Omega pays homage to the Omega Weapon as well as Sephiroth with his One-Winged Angel. The video game appearances in the squared circle continue as, especially in his earlier years, he would often execute a Street Fighter style Hadouken as part of his repertoire. He has actually competed against Xavier Woods at the World Series of Gaming and frequently uploads gaming clips to his YouTube channel. But there is much more to this NJPW superstar.

For starters, he is straight edge just like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. He was the first non-Japanese wrestler to win the G1 Climax, New Japan’s weeks long round robin tournament. Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan are the only two other foreigners to win New Japan’s biggest tournament (in 1982 and 1983 respectively), but those wins were long before it became the massive event it is today. No matter how you look at it, that’s some incredible company to be rubbing shoulders with. Since 2012, winning the G1 Climax is essentially the equivalent to the Royal Rumble as the winner goes on to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion at Wrestle Kingdom, NJPW’s analogue of WrestleMania.

Speaking of Wrestle Kingdom, at the 11th edition, Kenny and Kazuchika Okada, who was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion then and will continue his reign until at least Wrestle Kingdom 12, were awarded a 6-star match according to wrestling’s premier journalist Dave Meltzer. In what feels like another lifetime altogether, Omega actually wrestled a blow up doll and a little girl in the past, when he called the DDT promotion his home in Japan. Omega himself admitted on Talk is Jericho, that the latter was one of his favorite matches of all time. Yes, you caught that right, Omega already has, at the very least, and amicable relationship with Chris Jericho, which makes their Twitter battle seem even less like a “shoot” in retrospect.

Believe it or not, Omega was part of WWE developmental at one time, wrestling in Deep South Wrestling from October 2005 until August 2006. He stated that he left the company due to the cliquish nature of WWE and its backstage politics, citing Bill DeMott, Jody Hamilton and Bob Holly specifically as difficult to work with. According to Kenny, there were fellow developmental superstars whom became friendly with DeMott outside of work and became DeMott’s buddies. When calls came down from WWE for recommendations of who to move up, Kenny stated DeMott would refer his friends, regardless of their level of ability in the ring or out. This left a sour taste in Omega’s mouth as he briefly considered leaving professional wrestling and pursued a career in MMA, but it lasted for less than a month. It was a farewell match for AJ Styles in the PCW promotion, which Omega considered to be a temporary return, that he credits with falling head over heels in love with the sport he had almost left behind and he has never looked back.

Bill DeMott inside WWE Performance Center.

The announcement of the match between Omega and Jericho has blown open the thoughts in my brain of a subject that I have been considering for approximately two years. The globalization of WWE through the acquisition of smaller promotions throughout the world. In essence, going back to what made wrestling admirable, entertaining, and most of all able to create a sense of competitiveness between regions and promotions. Different cultures and values are what make the promotions of America, Mexico, and Japan so different. But you can even compare many aspects of Combat Zone Wrestling to the WWE product and you feel like you are watching a completely foreign product.

I am basing my thought process on the idea that the return of a system reminiscent of the old territories may be on the horizon. There have been rumors of mergers between companies, in recent memory there was even a rumor that WWE was considering buying Ring of Honor. It turned out to be a discussion about content that never materialized, but it was something that people legitimately believed was possible based on the climate of wrestling today.

It is no shock that the globalization of the WWE brand is at an all time high. We have witnessed growth in the U.K. and India. This is supported by the recently minted United Kingdom Championship with a speculated 5th brand via the WWE Network. We also see this with the WWE Championship ending up on the shoulder of Jinder Mahal in what is, in my opinion, a purely political championship reign. It has included two trips back to the nation of his descent, one oh which resulted in the signing of two Indian women to WWE developmental contracts .

With this level of expansion already taking place it could possibly be in NJPW’s best interest to be “with” the WWE or suffer the possible collapse of the promotions all together. It is no secret that Vince always gets what he wants, one way or another. The benefits of such an alliance are already being seen in the various independent companies such as Evolve, ICW and Progress, all of which have formed working relationships as part of the WWE coalition. Not only do they receive recognition from the industry’s top brand, but also likely some financial assistance and the occasional promotional crossover matches.

In early 2014, Ring of Honor and New Japan announced a working relationship that continues to this day. In August 2015 it was announced that New Japan stalwart and Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger would appear at WWE’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event. ROH was running an event using New Japan talent the same night as the NXT show, right in the same borough, hosting a Field of Honor event in the Brooklyn Cyclones’ baseball stadium.

Details of the transaction that led to the Liger vs. Tyler Breeze match were hush hush. Paul “HHH” Levesque actually denied trying to interfere in the NJPW/ROH relationship, but included an important phrase while making said denial: “I will do what’s best for business even if it interferes with another business model, because I have to worry about my own business model.” This comment came only a few days after it was announced that Liger would be present at Takeover. To note, ROH had announced New Japan talent for their Brooklyn show months before any of this took place, but we have no idea when negotiations began for the Liger appearance.

Jushin “Thunder” Liger enters Barclays Center.

This marked the first time that WWE worked with any promotion from Japan in many years. Was this the beginning of the joining of the two mega promotions from two sides of the globe? According to reports, ROH was completely unaware of the booking and in my opinion this is even low by wrestling standards. A legitimate double cross! It should be noted that at the time, as he often is, Liger was under a contract that allowed him to take bookings anywhere but, it should also be noted that NJPW was actively promoting his upcoming appearance in NXT. There was speculation that this booking was partially related to ROH putting out an action figure of Kevin Owens as his ROH persona Kevin Steen, clearly as a way to capitalize on his recent debut on WWE television. Only the Authority knows the answer to this question as I am sure this was discussed behind closed doors and not many were privy to the information, and surely there was much more to it than that.

It has already been confirmed, as I stated above, that WWE had talks with Ring of Honor about their tape library. Other rumors include a possible bid for WWE to buy out Impact Wrestling. Between that rumor and the speculation at the time that WWE was looking to buy ROH, not just some content, that their goal was to shut down both promotions and use their tape libraries as an addition to the WWE Network. That is an unsubstantiated claim at best.

With the recent invasion of the Young Bucks, the acquisitions of various wrestlers such Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Neville, Seth Rollins and countless others from the independent wrestling scene, I feel that this would be suicide for WWE, which has grown so large that they need the smaller promotions to feed the roster of today. It’s especially important with NXT essentially serving as a third brand behind RAW and SmackDown, not just as a stepping stone between the indies and big stage of the main roster. Is it possible that WWE showing their ability to bully a company like Ring of Honor was a play at trying to get New Japan to play ball with them instead of the promotion that is effectively the second largest wrestling operation in North America? Maybe NJPW and ROH were already thinking about working with WWE since Vince and company were already raiding talent left and right from everywhere imaginable, including them, who are ostensibly the second and third biggest wrestling companies in the world.

In December of 2016, President of Bushiroad (parent company of NJPW) Takaaki Kidani spoke about this exact possible partnership, at least with WWE in the future. He was not opposed to the idea of joining forces. He openly stated, “You are either with WWE or against them.” Kidani acknowledges WWE’s next generation star shortage and realizes that they have the financial ability to milk from any single promotion that they see fit. Kidani wants to use this as his angle into a WWE cooperative. In 2016 alone, NJPW saw the loss of Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. If NJPW is this open about their relationship and continues their already strong relationship with ROH, couldn’t all three in essence become key players in a globalized, territorial, wrestling dream come true? It would be especially exciting for those of us old enough to remember the days of grainy footage of the NWA, WCCW, and AWA.

Are these becoming one?

This move would carry the weight of decades of irony. It is so similar, if this is the plan, to what Vince McMahon himself destroyed, with the final realization of his dream coming with the fall of WCW, the final competitor he had left after the territory system was disbanded piece-by-piece.

In a nutshell, WWE would be going away from the McMahon model of monopolization and instead liquidating back into a system of smaller areas that would all be part of a much bigger whole entity. The main difference here is that this would be global instead of limited to North America. This, if true, could go a long way in eliminating the monotony of dry storylines and limited character development that pervades today’s WWE product. For this to be successful, each territory would have to be guided by an affiliated promoter or booker but not directly governed by WWE and their creative process. This would allow WWE to not only secure TV time for their own newly integrated territories, but they could also put an even bigger emphasis on social media and the internet as a whole, which is how most smaller promotions disseminate their products anyway.

I think this would offer a reset button to the entire professional wrestling industry worldwide. A much needed change, in my opinion. And in the words of Randy Savage, “The cream always rises to the top!”

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Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: The Final Opponent For John Cena In WWE

It’s obvious that John Cena is nearing the end of his legendary career, and he’s suggested ending it at WrestleMania 41. Who should be his final opponent?



John Cena Last Match Randy Orton WWE WrestleMania 41

It’s obvious that John Cena is nearing the end of his legendary career, and he’s suggested ending it at WrestleMania 41. Who should be his final opponent?

John Cena recently appeared on the Pat McAfee Show, the Monday after his surprise (but mostly expected) WrestleMania 40 appearance during Cody Rhodes’ win over Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Championship. During that appearance, he confirmed what many expect, that he is nearly done with his in-ring career. But Cena even tossed out the idea of a time-frame, detailing that his acting schedule will likely take him through Christmas, and maybe Hollywood could “pump the brakes” to allow for one final run.

That run could easily begin at the Royal Rumble with a surprise entrance (or entering himself via TV appearances as part of the build), with a tease for his 17th world title win before finally settling in on his final match.

Fantasy booking and storytelling aside, the goal here is the final match–more specifically the final opponent. With a John Cena, you’ve got a ton of options. As such, it’s hard to narrow it down to 5, and one of your favorites is likely missing–be warned!

Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: The Final Opponent For John Cena In WWE

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Miz – A feud with John Cena gave The Mix a WrestleMania 27 main event–and a WrestleMania  main event victory on top of it. Miz has been receiving more love than ever lately, and a match with John Cena would not be misplaced. Maybe he can use their WrestleMania 33 contest (and Cena’s personal aftermath) as fodder for it, too.
  • AJ Styles – The man who once made it popular to “BEAT UP JOHN CENA” is also nearing the end of his run, and could be the one candidate on this list that could realistically give us a double-retirement match. He would also be the guy who retired both The Undertaker and John Cena (and would probably end up being the guy who lost in both).
  • The Rock or Cody Rhodes – Both great options, but you have to figure their dance card for WrestleMania 41 is already full, potentially standing across the ring from one another. Either is an amazing option (including “Thrice In A Lifetime”), but I just don’t think it’s in the cards.
  • Trick Williams – Potentially a surprising addition to the Honorable Mentions, but the comparisons are there in terms of in-ring style/ability, promo skills, and the interplay they had in NXT (remember, it was Cena who is credited with encouraging Trick to not be afraid to go for it himself despite his relationship with Carmelo Hayes).

5. CM Punk

The fifth spot on this list was nearly interchangeable between several of the honorable mention names, but it really came down to Punk and Seth Rollins for me (with a hint of AJ Styles). The 2011 feud between CM Punk and John Cena was legendary, and is a moment that will forever be seen by me as the one that truly cemented CM Punk as a member of the growing list of all-time greats in WWE.

Punk is uniquely qualified for this match as he would make it mean more than a showboat for John Cena’s career and final match. It’s entirely believable that CM Punk would want to put John Cena’s career into the ground, and WWE has the video archive to support it.

Despite being #5, this could actually be a dark-horse for the match we get, and I can’t see anyone reasonably being upset about that.

4. Roman Reigns

John Cena and Roman Reigns have had two separate legendary programs. the first saw Cena, at times, embarrass Roman in promo exchanges in a feud that took place in the “pre-Tribal Chief” era. The second is more fresh and likely more memorable, as John Cena put Roman Reigns over in a football stadium in Las Vegas at SummerSlam (although it might be more remembered for the return of Brock Lesnar).

Reigns, a legend himself at his point (he’s featured alongside Steve Austin at the top of the “Forever” portion of the Then/Now/Forever/Together video that recently debuted) would provide a pairing akin to The Undertaker serving as Shawn Michaels’ retirement opponent at WrestleMania 26 9notice I didn’t say “final opponent). The end of Roman’s 1316 day world title reign has brought about a new appreciation for Reigns, which would further enhance this pairing at WrestleMania 41.

3. Bron Breakker

Bron Breakker is the picture-perfect definition of a juggernaut in WWE, a fast rising star who almost seems like a lock to main event WrestleMania one day (you never know–Seth Rollins JUST got his first WrestleMania main event last weekend). Breakker recently said farewell NXT as the natural in-ring competitor makes a transition to full-time main roster competition.

Breakker also fits the category of who “needs it.” Bring the man to retire John Cena would be quite the feather in the cap of Breakker’s early career, and would give him a moment that would be relived for generations to come. The only question mark is WWE “trusting” Breakker with this moment, as a sudden change of character could mean that Cena’s final match wouldn’t be seen or discussed as much. Breakker, to me, has given no reason for anyone to suspect that might happen, regardless of any controversies his father and uncle have been linked to.

2. R-Truth

Despite being 5-years older than John Cena, and making his in-ring debut in the same year (1999), R-Truth’s childhood hero hanging up the boots will undoubtedly be a hard-hitting moment for the  man who has basically become the WWE Mascot. Truth emulating Cena in his matches, and of course the RawAfterMania moment with Cena, Truth, and The Miz hitting a Fifteen Knuckle Shuffle (thank you, Michael Cole) on The Judgment Day makes this a near can’t miss final match for both John Cena and the WWE Universe.

R-Truth himself is equally deserving of this match, as it would be a reward for all of his years in the ring as part of a career that seems age defying while proving that age is not only a number, but also a number that can be ignored (see Child Hero, John Cena).

While a rematch of their 2011 WWE Capital Punishment main event is an unlikely WrestleMania 41 match-up, it’s one I believe everyone would love to see.

1. Randy Orton

I mean, is there anyone more perfect? John Cena and Randy were inseparably linked for a good portion of their careers, and have shared the ring more times than Big Show has turned babyface/heel. Both are far into legendary status at this point, and Orton specifically is obviously focused on enjoying this stage of his career.

But Orton is still delivering great performances inside the ring, too.

Randy Orton vs John Cena was an exciting proposition many years ago, became a punchline for WWE booking a few years ago, but is now coming full circle as the perfect match-up to end the amazing career of John Cena. It has my vote, and should have yours, too.

Even if R-Truth would be the most fun option.

What say you? Who is the best candidate to stand across the ring from John Cena in his final WWE match, potentially at WrestleMania 41? Who did I leave out?

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Greg DeMarco’s WrestleMania 40 Saturday Results & Review

It’s the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, WrestleMania! Night 1 of WrestleMania XL and Greg DeMarco has your results and review!



Sami Zayn WrestleMania 40

It’s the Granddaddy Of ‘Em All, WrestleMania! Night 1 of WrestleMania XL and Greg DeMarco has your results and review!

It all comes down to this–at least for the first night! A loaded card in front of a packed house, and I’d expect everyone to deliver one hell of a performance.

Women’s World Championship – Becky Lynch vs. Rhea Ripley (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Rhea Ripley retains

In my opinion, this match should be the main event of Night 1, but The Rock is back and that was going to take precedence (even if I disagree). Becky won this title shot at the Elimination Chamber, even though they were already building the feud before that event in Perth. Ripley herself main evented that event in a stadium, defeating Nia Jax.

  • It was revealed during her entrance that this is Becky Lynch’s “Flu Game,” as she has temperatures as high as 102 degrees throughout the week.
  • Rhea Ripley enters to a life performance of her entrance theme, which you can tell she dug.
  • Prime logo is center ring, just the black outline with “Prime” in the middle, and it is not at all bothersome. I can’t believe people made such a big deal out of bitching about that.
  • The stage looks dope, not at all “too small” as some had said. The whole environment looks great, honestly.
  • Rhea Ripley has been dealing with a wrist injury. She said on the Pat McAfee Show she didn’t expect to work with the wrist brace on tonight, but there it is.
  • Corey Graves points out that Becky’s training was likely impacted by her illness, and Pat McAfee scoffs at him for stating the obvious. I hope that isn’t what we get all night.
  • Commentary notes that is is 52 degrees and windy in the stadium, and I am reminded of Nick Khan’s comments about moving an outdoor WrestleMania to late April in the future, if they don’t get an indoor building (he did say “2026” when talking about that, which likely means the 2025 venue is indeed set).
  • Rhea’s Prism Trap is a fell of a submission finisher. Add in the body lock the way she did, and it’s even more impressive.
  • I just noticed the “Prime” turnbuckle pads and it’s…weird. I just didn’t expect it and can’t think of the last time we didn’t have the WWE/WWF logo on the buckles outside of Black and Gold NXT. WrestleMania 2?
  • I am also noticing that Dude Wipes seems to have sponsored the ring posts. Kudos to WWE (and the wrestling industry behind them) for being so damn desirable to sponsors!
  • That combo to get into the Riptide was fantastic–and the kickout was even better.
  • During the DisarmHer you can clearly see the commentary position, and Michael Cole is legit reclined all the way back. Love it–Cole is living his best life.
  • Rhea’s Riptide into the buckle before the proper Riptide was pretty sweet as well. Made Becky look insanely strong in defeat.

Winner via pinfall AND STILL your Women’s World Champion: Rhea Ripley

Hell of an opener, and if you didn’t know Becky was sick, you wouldn’t have known. Props to them both. That would have satisfied as a main event, but can now go down as one of the best openers in WrestleMania history.

Ladder Match for the Raw Tag Team Championships and Smackdown Tag Team Championships – DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs. Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth) vs. New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) vs. A Town Down Under (Austin Theory & Grayson Waller) vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Judgment Day (Finn Balor & Damian Priest, Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Awesome Truth (Raw titles) and A-Town Down Under (SmackDown)

As many expected, the belts are hanging separately, meaning we are most likely splitting the tag titles here. Triple H and company have put some serious work into building up the tag team divisions of both brands, and even though I expect the two winners to not be actual “teams,” but either way I actually like the way they didn’t make a big deal out of splitting the titles up, they’re just doing it. They have been defended separately since being unified, albeit rarely.

  • R-Truth makes a joke about DIY being DX and that’s now taken off. I love it.
  • The Miz is very under appreciated. Can literally do anything.
  • Someone is struggling with the “Titan Tron” videos tonight.
  • Not gonna lie, I am the biggest Pat McAfee fan, but he’s actually quite annoying right now.
  • Sign of the night: SANTA DESERVED IT.
  • Lots of green in this match, half of the teams wearing their “WrestleMania Green” gear.
  • Also, loving the Consequences Creed gear for Woods.
  • God Bless Finn Balor for taking that Airplane Spin into the ladder.
  • 205 combined years of experience in this match. That’s an average of 17 years (Waller has the least with 7, Balor and Miz are tied for the most with 23).
  • “Dunne Mountain?!?!” Thank you Michael Cole for fixing that.
  • Poor Finn Balor, not he takes the AA to the ladder after John Cena’s Five Moves Of Doom
  • Hilarious.
  • A-Town Down Under gets the SmackDown tag titles!
  • And Grayson gets tossed through a ladder, still holding a title!
  • The match does continue until the Raw tag titles are also retrieved.
  • If Theory also got the Raw tag titles down, I will laugh my ass off.
  • Birminghammer is a fantastic name for a tandem (somewhat) Burning Hammer.
  • Tornado DDT through a table!
  • Air Raid Crash from the ladder!
  • And we still have more tables set-up.
  • JD McDonagh trying to get Finn–who has taken a beating–to get the Raw tag titles.
  • McDonagh through the tables!
  • PERFECTLY placed Razor’s Edge onto that chair.
  • Dude, that ladder is trashed. (And very unsafe.)
  • AA sends Damian outside!
  • I think everyone wants R-Truth to get this. EVERYONE.
  • YES!

Winners via belt retrieval, AND NEW:

  • SmackDown Tag Team Champions – Grayson Waller & Austin Theory
  • Raw Tag Team Champions – R-Truth & The Miz

Really good Ladder Match, but it’s hard to have a bad one. The tag team titles are split and it was really well done. It made perfect sense to do it that way, not make a big deal out of it and just let it happen. I am excited to see both teams win–not because I picked both, but because I think one team (Waller/Theory) have amazing futures and the other (Miz/Truth) will be a lot of fun, even if their run will probably be short lived.

Santos Escobar (with Legado Del Fantasma members Angel, Humberto, & Elektra Lopez) & Dominik Mysterio vs. Rey Mysterio & Andrade (with The LWO members Carlito, Joaquin Wilde, Cruz Del Toro, & Zelina Vega

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Dominik and Santos win, giving Dominik “revenge” for his loss at WrestleMania 39.

Look, this match doesn’t make a lick of sense–Dominik shows up two weeks ago and finds his way into another WrestleMania match with Rey? Definitely shoehorned. But Dominik is outstanding, so if this gets him on the card, I’ll take it.

  • More green in this match, and I am here for it.
  • Innovative Double Cross Body by Rey & Andrade.
  • Dominik showing experience beyond his years, making sure the ref sees his tag with Santos.
  • At this moment, I am wondering who turns–Carlito or Andrade. Gotta assume it’s one of them.
  • Three matches in and I don’t even notice the Primo logo in the center of the ring or on the turnbuckle pads.
  • Santos Escobar trying to unmask Rey Mysterio, as if we don’t all have Google.
  • Corey Graves making a great point about Rey taking some responsibility for the issues in his life, and Michael Cole immediately dismissing it.
  • It’s so hard to do a really good Dragon Screw Leg Whip, and Andrade (along with Dominik and Santos) just pulled off two to perfection.
  • Camera shot of Rey’s cross body shows the heaters above the ring. Good–keep ’em warm!
  • This could have easily been an 8-man tag team match. Maybe we get that Monday on Raw (which can also be where the turn happens, making my prediction here likely wrong).
  • Joaquin Wilde gets to do his NXT spot at WrestleMania, and that’s probably more important than officially being in the match.
  • Two masked men–definitely the Kelce Brothers–are here.
  • My bad, it was Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. Good call, honestly. Great pop for them, too.
  • Looking at the reply, Dominik sold that ringpost spot like a champ.

Winners via pinfall (Rey on Santos): Rey Mysterio & Andrade

Fun tag team match that served its purpose. Needed? Maybe not, as I really wanted to get Liv Morgan vs. Nia Jax onto this card. But when you can get Rey & Dominik on the card, everyone will be happy. and of course the Jason Kelce & Lane Johnson appearances.

Brother vs Brother: Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Jimmy Uso follows in the footsteps of Owen Hart and Matt Hardy and beats the “more talented brother.”

They’ve wanted this match all their lives–and the preview video was insane. Very well done.

  • Jey in the WrestleMania whites tonight.
  • And we get a hot start to the match!
  • “Big Brother Jimmy” is always a fun thing to hear.
  • More Dude Wipes sponsorship on this one–you have to wonder if having Dude Wipes on the posts for the opener was in error.
  • Superkicks. Lots of Superkicks.
  • Very enjoyable YEET/NO chants from the crowd.
  • Jey just kicking the hell out of Jimmy, including a Jumping Super Kick.
  • This has “Fight Without Honor” feels from old school ROH, where the winners have respect after. We will definitely see these guys together again.
  • Jimmy apologizing to Jey. Crowd is not buying it.
  • Of course it was BS, and Jimmy gains the advantage.

Winner, via pinfall: Jey Uso

Jey breaks the babyface curse by beating his heel brother. Thought we might get an embrace between them, instead we faded out. A good match that was more about the story than the in-ring action. I can see some feeling like this hasn’t “lived up to expectations” because of the high expectations you’d have for an Usos match. Their best work will always be as a team, but I know this is a lifelong dream come true for both.

As for all the Superkicks, I mean….it’s an Usos match.

Six-Woman Tag Team Match – Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, & Kairi Sane) vs. Naomi, Bianca Belair, & Jade Cargill

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Bianca, Naomi, & Jade win when Jade scores the pin (probably on Kairi, who always seems to eat the fall)

This match is all about getting Bianca Belair on the card (she had to be), and Jade Cargill’s debut. It also got Damage CTRL on the card, which they truly deserve–even if it is to lose.

  • Respectfully, Dakota Kai. (Good thing the ring and surrounding area is heated)
  • Not gonna lie, Jade looks nervous. But this is a six-woman tag, and her portion is likely highly choreographed. Gonna be all good.
  • As I watch and enjoy the match (but am not typing much lol), this seems like a match where we’re all just waiting for Jade to come in and win.
  • No one has told Jade about the tag ropes yet, apparently.
  • And now Jade is in, and Damage CTRL makes her look like a million bucks.
  • Dakota Kai nicely gets herself into position for the finish, and Jade gets her WrestleMania win.

Winners via pinfall (Jade on Dakota): Jade Cargill, Naomi, & Bianca Belair

We knew what this one was about going into it, and that’s what it should have been. Jade still ain’t ready. I know it might be an “ego hit” for her to go to NXT, but she needs it. If Giulia can go to NXT, so can Jade.

Intercontinental Championship – Sami Zayn vs. GUNTHER (champion)

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Sami Zayn pulls off the major upset and is the one to dethrone Gunther

Gunther has had a stranglehold on the Intercontinental Championship, defending it like crazy in 2023 but slowing that down here in 2024. It’s not fair to say he’s outgrown the title, but that might actually be the case. It’ll be really interesting to see what happens with Imperium leading up to the draft, and at the WWE Draft itself.

  • Sami Zayn was the perfect wrestler to have their journey form backstage to the ring followed by the cameras. From his family to Chad Gable to Kevin Owens, it was all so perfect–maybe too perfect? (Not in that someone will screw him, but in that it might be too heavily foreshadowing his win?)
  • Gunther looked oddly nervous standing on that stage.
  • You know, the Intercontinental Championship is basically a third world title at this point. And we could see the end of a legendary reign. I think this deserved the Samantha Irvin In-Ring Introductions (aka “Japan Style”) treatment.
  • Gunther is smiling confidently now, we’re good.
  • Crowd is ON FIRE for these guys (and evenly split with their chants for each guy).
  • This is the 21st time the Intercontinental championship is defended at WrestleMania, and it makes you wonder what in the hell they were thinking for the other 11.
  • Looks like Dude Wipes is back on the ringpost!
  • Hell of a nearfall, followed up by a Helluva Kick from Gunthcr, and one from Sami!
  • That finish….AMAZING.

Winner via pinfall, AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Sami Zayn

The athletes… the moments… the storytelling… professional wrestling is such a beautiful business. Sami Zayn’s win over Gunther was everything I had hoped it would be when I picked Sami to win. Absolutely beautiful.

Cody Rhodes & World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. The Rock & Undisputed WWE Champion Roman Reigns

Greg’s pre-show prediction: Seth & Cody get the win after tons of interference and surprise appearances, making Roman vs Cody on Sunday a match where The Bloodline is banned from ringside.

So much involved in this one. As you know, If Rock & Roman win, Sunday’s WWE Championship match will be held under Bloodline Roles. If Seth & Cody win, then that mach will see ZERO Bloodline involvement. Personally, if Cody is winning the title, I’d rather it be straight up. But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I am wrong.

  • Honestly, after the introductions, I realized I was just watching!
  • This was very much Steve Austin vs The Rock inspired, with them fighting all over the stadium, and pushing the envelope.
  • I loved The Rock basically neutering the referee–normally I hate that, but here it works.
  • That finish and the condition of Rollins both lay perfectly into night 2, I would imagine.

Winners via Rock pinfall on Rhodes: The Rock & Roman Reigns

Per rule, Sunday’s main event will now be Bloodline Rules. And given that, my prediction of Roman retaining might be harder to pull off. This was a good return for The Rock, and perfectly played into the whole story. Job well done.

Greg DeMarco’s Overall Thoughts for WWE WrestleMania XL, Saturday (Night 1)

in a vacuum, this was  highly enjoyable show. Night 2 might end up being legendary if both Bayley and Rhodes win, and it could overshadow Night 1. But the scene was fantastic, production was top notch as always, and the fans went home having enjoyed one for the ages. The Triple H Era s well underway, and will likely kick into a higher gear with Night 2.

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