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Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 11/4/2018



Well let’s speak honestly here. We had a few big shows this weekend and neither of them were overly spectacular. Crown Jewel was what we expected, more spectacle than quality, but there were still some fun/good moments sprinkled in. Power Struggle on the other hand I think fell flat because nothing was extremely exciting. Both events set up what they had to, for the respective company, but neither really added clever wrinkles to ignite the imagination. So regardless of how you feel about Crown Jewel or WWE, New Japan isn’t perfect, so failing to realize both events were fairly mediocre by company standards, is just bias.

So with that, this is one of those two vote weeks. October is done, and I’ll set out the October pool to reveal what match won last week.

October Pool:

  • Super Show-Down Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs Cedric Alexander (c)
  • NJPW King of Pro Wrestling Triple Threat: Kenny Omega (c) vs Cody vs Kota Ibushi
  • AJPW Raising an Army Triple Crown Championship Match: Zeus (c) vs Kento Miyahara
  • Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs Charlotte

So my vote will go to the Triple Crown Championship, since that is a gem of a match that most people will be unaware of because All Japan doesn’t have the visibility it used to. This is a fairly loaded pool, so I don’t think there’s a lot of arguing regardless of which match wins. But ya, I’m voting for the plucky underdog.

Now on to this week!


5. NJPW Power Struggle IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Chris Jericho (c) vs EVIL

Chris Jericho, the wrestler that never forgets. Took him 5 months to finish his initial interaction with Naito at Dominion, and now after EVIL stepped up, another 5 months and a wild Chris Jericho appears! Even though EVIL has had some high profile matches against Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito and Kazuchika Okada…this is easily his biggest match. Can EVIL overcome Jericho, or will we get the forseen outcome of Jericho retaining?

Turnabout is fair play, so before Jericho can get his masks off, EVIL quickly goes after him. The match spills outside and EVIL starts throwing him around the barricades and into the ring post. After a Snap Suplex, EVIL sets up a table but takes too long. So when he tries to Powerbomb Jericho through the table, a Back Body Drop gives Jericho a reprise.

Jericho takes the camera as is his thing in Japan this year, then starts choking EVIL with his shirt. Gets on one of the tables set up for ringside, screams “Everything is Jericho”, and DDT’s EVIL down into the table. Putting EVIL back into the ring, Jericho hits a Lionsault, but EVIL continues to show life. One more stint outside gives EVIL the opportunity to do his Homerun Swing with the chairs and take some control.

Managing to take some control back, they move to the side of the ring with the table and Jericho catches EVIL with the Triangle Dropkick, but holds on and doesn’t fly through the table. After some fighting on the apron, EVIL drives Jericho through the table with an STO. Following up with a Senton from the top rope, for a near fall. EVIL goes for Darkness Falls, but Jericho slips down and turns it into a Walls of Jericho, but EVIL gets the ropes.

EVIL manages to land a Darkness Falls and Everything is EVIL, but Jericho continues to kick out. As the match winds down Jericho lands a Codebreaker, but EVIL kicks out. As a callback to how Jericho won the belt from Naito, he shoves EVIL into the ref and goes for a low blow, but EVIL stops it. Jericho pulls off a Frakensteiner, but EVIL rolls through and Jericho rolls with that, locking in the Walls of Jericho again. After a struggle and even a small transition to the Liontamer, EVIL taps out.

Before Jericho can really do anything heelish to EVIL, Naito comes out quickly for the save. Most likely pointing towards the Intercontinental Championship rematch at Wrestle Kingdom.

Winner: Jericho via Walls of Jericho

Rating: **** 1/4


4. NJPW Power Struggle RPW British Heavyweight Championship Match: Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii (c)

These two have had a long standing feud from before the Rev Pro belt was involved. Two of the tougher, old school “Strong Style” wrestlers, these two always beat the hell out of one another. Suzuki did manage to take the title once, but Ishii won it back, so now we’re looking at one more for good measure. This match will be stiff, so let’s just get to it.

Now Suzuki is well known to use heel tactics and chairs, but this was a more traditional match. Both men stood in the ring and just beat each other to a pulp. It could be argued that this didn’t add a layer to their feud, but the fact Suzuki kept it in the ring proves how important this was. Suzuki got an early advantage with stiff Forearm strikes and kicks, but Ishii countered with Forearms of his own and Headbutts.

The story came down to Suzuki kept going for the Sleeper into the Gotch Piledriver, but early on it was hard to apply since Ishii is known to not have much of a neck. The match shifted when Suzuki went for the Gotch, but Ishii countered it into a Rite of Passage style reverse Piledriver. Ishii followed that up with a few Sliding Lariats, and Suzuki was fighting from the back foot the rest of the match.

One more Gotch counter shows Ishii clipping Suzuki with a Enzuigiri, a few more strikes and then Vertical Drop Brainbuster, to retain his British Heavyweight title. Given that Suzuki has not been able to get any momentum this year, we could see a shift in Suzuki-Gun. Bullet Club has changed, CHAOS has changed, maybe it’s time to break up another long standing stable.

Should be interesting to see what happens with Suzuki come Wrestle Kingdom.

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster

Rating: **** 1/4


3. Pro Wrestling NOAH Global Tag League Day 1 GHC Jr Heavyweight Championship Match: Daisuke Harada (c) vs Kotaro Suzuki

Making his return to NOAH since the Burning departure in 2013, Kotaro Suzuki has a purpose. He claimed that the current crop of Juniors were a joke and he would win the Global Jr League, which he did to get this title shot. Harada took exception to this obviously, but couldn’t stop him in the Junior tournament. So now this is Harada’s last chance to prove himself to the returning veteran.

This match started off fairly docile until Kotaro hits a Tombstone on the apron. This set up for a nice moment of arrogance as he showed no desire to win in the middle of the ring and was okay if Harada got counted out. Harada slides in at 17, Kotaro throws him back out and waits in the corner for Harada to return. It took a little bit for Harada to regain his bearings, but when he did, the pace quickened.

We saw both men crisscrossing and bouncing off the ropes trying to keep the other off balance before Harada lays out Kotaro and tries to keep the faster pace. Kotaro gets some space and goes to the top rope for something. Harada meets him and goes for a Superplex but Kotaro shifts mid air and turns it into something I’m calling the “Holy Shit Driver”. Was it the cleanest looking? No. But by god was it a moment that made me actually jump out of my chair.

Harada rolls to the outside, Kotaro meets him with a Diving Elbow. Rolls him back in, goes for a Powerbomb, Harada block, Kotaro attempts a sunset flip, Harada blocks and attempts a Double Stomp but Kotaro evades. Harada bounces off the ropes and Kotaro catches him and lands Excalibur for 2. Follows up with Blue Destiny, but Harada kicks out again.

Kotaro goes for a Tiger Driver, but Harada block and just drops Kotaro on his face. Both men are down, and when they get up we get an unique variation of a strike fest. These two are so evenly matched, Kotaro goes for an Elbow high, but Harada hits him with an Elbow in the gut. We see dueling Forearm shivers, Discus Elbows, and then Harada finally gets the best of the exchange. Manages to pull off his Henkei Knee Upper but Kotaro kicks out.

Harada throws a strike, Kotaro catches it, tries Tiger Driver again, but as Harada is countering, he goes for a Crucifix pin. As soon as Harada gets out of it, Kotaro applies the La Magistral cradle, and we see the rolling locomotion style. About 4 or 5 rolls, before finally he wears down Harada long enough to keep his shoulders down for 3.

Interesting ending that still has both men look fantastic, but Kotaro proved the new crop of NOAH Juniors are still below him.

Winner: Suzuki via Locomotion La Magistrals

Rating: **** 1/2


Honorable Mentions:


NJPW Power Struggle Super Jr Tag League Finals 3 Way Match: Roppongi 3k vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado vs Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
Winner: RPG 3k via Shock Arrow
Rating: **** 1/4
WWE Crown Jewel WWE Championship Match: Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles (c)
Winner: Styles via Phenomenal Forearm
Rating: *** 3/4
NJPW Power Struggle: Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Naito via Destino
Rating: *** 3/4
Lucha Underground Mask vs Mask: Son of Havoc vs Killshot
Winner: Son of Havoc
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Crown Jewel: Degeneration X vs Brothers of Destruction
Winner: DX via Sweet Chin Music/Pedigree combo
Rating: *** 1/4
Progress Chapter 77 Pumpkin Spice Progress: Tim Thatcher vs William Eaver
Winner: Thatcher via Fujiwara Armbar
Rating: *** 1/4
NJPW Power Struggle: Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay vs Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi
Winner: Golden Lovers via Golden Trigger
Rating: *** 1/4
Progress Ch. 77 Pumpkin Spice Progress: Isla Dawn vs Millie McKenzie
Winner: No Contest (Interference)
Rating: ***
NJPW Power Struggle: Kazuchika Okada & Trent Beretta vs Bad Luck Fale & Jay White
Winner: Trent via Victory Roll
Rating: ***


2. WWE SmackDown WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles (c)

From Mitchell’s Coverage:

Why wait three more days? We’re getting The Phenomenal VS The Goat tonight! Who wins to then have another match at Crown Jewel?

SmackDown returns as introductions are made and the belt is raised! The bell rings and we begin! Bryan and Styles circle and tie up. They fight for control as they grind shoulders into each other. Bryan brings Styles in, gets the wristlock, then brings him down. Bryan hammerlocks and stomps the arm! He backs off as Styles gets up, showing a semblance of respect. Styles and Bryan circle again, but Styles gets a waistlock slam! Bryan gets up and goes after the wrist again. He wrenches the arm around, but Styles scoops and throws Bryan over the top rope. Bryan stays on the apron, and Styles backs off to show his semblance of respect.

Bryan returns, and the two circle again. They tie up and Styles has Bryan in a corner. Bryan turns it around as fans start dueling. Bryan backs off at 3, then gives a shove. Styles shoves Bryan so Bryan shoves back. Styles shoves again, so Bryan goes after the arm. Bryan gives a shoulder breaker, then a hammerlock. He puts Styles into a corner shoulder first, then kicks away from both sides. He goes left and right, then grabs the arm for another shoulder breaker. Styles throws a forearm, then forearms and chops in a corner. He chops Bryan then whips him corner to corner. Bryan goes up and over, then runs, but Styles keeps pace. Styles dropkicks Bryan down! Bryan bails out as fans fire up. Styles aims, slingshot but misses! Bryan builds speed to DIVE! Direct hit but just a little double edged as Bryan holds his leg.

We go picture in picture while both men are down. The referee checks on them, and they’re okay to continue. Styles heads for the ring first while Bryan gets his leg moving. A ring count begins, but Bryan puts Styles in at 6. He stalks Stylse to ropes, then wrenches the arm for another shoulder breaker. He keeps going and has Styles in a hammerlock on the mat. Bryan sits on the hold to add leverage as he pulls back. Styles endures but Bryan flips him over for a cover, TWO! Styles gets to ropes, but Bryan is after him. He hits Bryan and put shim in a corner, but Bryan hits him back for buckle bumps. Bryan whips corner to corner hard, then says “YES!” before running in. Styles boots Bryan away, then leaps up, moonsault DDT! But the bad arm keeps Styles from making a cover.

Styles gets to ropes while Bryan stirs. Styles goes to Bryan in a corner, brings him up, and rams in his shoulder. He chops Bryan, but keeps with him in the other corner. Styles chops and chops, but Bryan turns things around to chop Styles! And kick him! Bryan reels Styles out for an arm wringer! He twists Styles’ arm, but then backs off. Fans duel between “YES!” and “NO!” as Bryan stalks Styles. Bryan drags Styles up and gives him a rocking European Uppercut. We return to single picture as Bryan unleashes Yes Kicks! Styles takes the kicks, but blocks the buzzsaw into a dragon screw! Bryan clutches that bad leg, but Styles is right on it. Styles DDT’s the leg into the mat and Bryan crawls away in pain. Styles kicks Bryan while he’s down, showing little mercy as he tweaks it between his own legs.

Bryan is still down, so Styles keeps going after the leg. Styles drops an elbow into a toehold. Bryan works to go after Styles’ face, but Styles fights him off. Bryan gets the fish hook and reels Styles in for an armbar! Styles works against it, and has Bryan turned over, for a knee smash! And then he sweeps the leg! He keeps kicking Bryan while he’s down, but the referee has him back off. Styles comes back for a BIG shinbreaker! He keeps kicking, but then Bryan hits back! Styles kicks the leg again, then gives Bryan a shinbreaker on a buckle! Bryan is down, clutching the leg, but Styles still keeps on him. Styles drops another elbow, but Bryan uses his good leg to kick Styles in the back. Bryan gets free, and gives Styles another EuroUpper.

Bryan runs in at the corner but into a back elbow. Styles hops up, moonsault but no DDT as Bryan gets a cravat! Bryan drives in knees, then throws Styles down! Both men are down but now Bryan is firing up. He gives more Yes Kicks! The buzzsaw hits! Bryan takes aim from a corner, but runs into a dropkick! Both men are down again, but Styles heads for an apron. He prepares himself, springboards, but Bryan trips him up! Styles is stuck up top, so Bryan turns him around. Bryan climbs up to join Styles, for a SUPER Back Suplex! That Styles turned enough on! The crossbody brings both men down, Bryan gasping while clutching his neck! We go to break while the referee checks on him.

SmackDown returns and Styles throws forearms. Bryan drags Styles into the Yes Lock!! Styles is so close to the ropes, he just reaches out, Ropebreak! But the damage was done as Bryan backs off. Bryan waits for Styles, then brings him in for a suplex. Styles resists, and suplexes Bryan out!! That bad leg is hurting again from the landing! Styles drags Bryan up, shinbreaker on the desk! Styles whips but Bryan reverses, Styles goes into steel steps! Bryan puts Styles in, then joins him. Bryan fires himself up, bad leg and all. He aims at Styles, runs in corner to corner, for a big dropkick! Bryan runs again, for another dropkick! He hoists Styles up top, then climbs up to join him. Super Steiner BLOCKED! Styles Brings Bryan back up, but Bryan gets that Super Steiner! Both men are down again, but stirring.

Styles gets up, and throws a clothesline in the corner. He runs in but is put on the apron. He shoulders in but Bryan kicks him! Bryan wraps the bad arm on the ropes, but backs off at 4. Bryan YES Kicks Styles between the ropes! But Styles catches one, dragon screw in the ropes! Bryan is down while Styles gets back on the apron. Styles aims, springboards, but flies into a double underhook suplex! Into armbar! Bryan pulls back, Styles flails and fans duel. Bryan shifts to a YES LOCK! Styles endures as Bryan pulls back. Styles gets up, makes it a cover, ONE! Bryan holds Styles with headscissors, and now it’s more a triangle. Fans duel as Styles holds on. Styles gets up, deadlifts Bryan, STYLES CLASH!! To CALF CRUSHER!! Bryan reaches, flails, but taps!! Styles wins!!

Winner: Styles via Calf Crusher

Rating: **** 1/2


1. Progress Chapter 77 Pumpkin Spice Progress World Championship Match: WALTER (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr

So I don’t follow Progress heavily, but this match seems to have had something brewing for a while. WALTER is one of the biggest and most well known names in the European wrestling scene, and we all known Sabre is a technical wizard. So Sabre gets another shot to prove himself against the Ring General from Austria. Who will survive?

The early game of cat and mouse was fantastic. Sabre was trying to pick his spots, allowing to give WALTER a couple openings, just to try and grab his arm or pick an ankle. Sabre’s Bicycle Kick to the arms really helped to play into his strategy.

As Sabre softened the arms, he went for numerous variations of stretches and Armbars. WALTER managed things early just by purely over powering Zack. Sabre got too cheeky at one point when he bridged out of a pin attempt and held it to talk shit. So WALTER decided to just stomp the hell out of Sabre.

WALTER tried to keep things grounded and go hold for hold with Sabre which wasn’t really a smart move. WALTER has an impressive Sleeper Hold and STF variation, but Sabre knows how to get out of more holds than most people can name. So what kept Sabre in this match was picking his spots and trying to wear down limbs, old school wrestling style.

This was a masterfully wrestled match and I can’t do it justice with the transitions and technical holds, but I will say regardless of a huge discrepancy in size, Sabre was very believably in this match until the waning moments. A highlight moment was when both men would hit each other and hold on while yelling at the other to accept and dish out more punishment. Sabre also had a Shawn Michaels moment of defiance when he flips off WALTER when all hope is nearly lost.

WALTER counters out of a last ditch Triangle Choke and ends the match with the Fire Thunder Driver. Damn impressive match.

Winner: WALTER via Fire Thunder Driver

Rating: ***** 1/4



Well I guess I’ll just stick with dark horses in this article. WALTER vs Zack Sabre Jr ranks highly in my personal Match of the Year list, so there’s no way I’m not giving it the credit it deserves. Beautifully wrestled old school, Billy Robinson approved, style of wrestling. Yes it’s swimming up stream with names like Styles, Bryan and Jericho in this Top 5, but it was even better than anticipated.

Until next week, do that thing we always say and, Always Use Your Head.

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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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