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Tale of the Tape – Steve Austin vs Becky Lynch



Steve Austin Becky Lynch

The comparisons between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and “The Man” Becky Lynch are running wild, so Rob is here with the Tale Of The Tape!

Starting Points

We all know where things turned for Becky; it was at SummerSlam 2018 when she attacked Charlotte Flair after the Smackdown Women’s Title Match.  For Austin however, there’s been some revisionist history.  Contrary to what has written into WWE lore Austin’s big bump did not come with the now legendary ‘Austin 3:16’ promo at King of the Ring 96.  In reality, that segment didn’t do much to move the needle and Austin was back on the preshow at the next pay per view.  No what really did it for him was working with Bret Hart, who asked for him as his comeback match opponent.  The two men had great in ring chemistry and Austin’s character was the antithesis to Bret’s, the outlaw tough guy vs the straight laced good guy.

Austin got hot because it was 1996, the NWO was hot over in WCW, and the times were such that antiheroes were the preferred choice to traditional good guys.  It was the time where Wolverine was the hottest thing going at Marvel and not long after Batman became the preferred choice to Superman at DC.  In short, Austin’s character represented a change in the times while Becky’s turn was…….a revolt against high achieving people who don’t try to make us all feel better by pretending to be ordinary.  Or against people that Vince has chosen to put in a high position because they’ve shown the should be there, because that’s just so unfair!!  So yeah, apples and oranges.

The Intent

Austin spent over a year climbing the proverbial ladder to being World Champion and number one guy in the then-WWF.  He was certified in defeat, not victory, and the first iconic image we got of him was passing out in Bret’s sharpshooter with blood streaming down his face.  He would go on to lose some more matches the next few months before he starting winning all the way through WrestleMania.  Despite his image as an anti authority figure Austin was pegged for the top spot almost a year before it happened and had an entire road mapped out to get there.  Becky on the other hand achieved her main goal a month after turning, winning the Smackdown Women’s Title from Charlotte.  It’s obvious that she and Charlotte were supposed to fight for a few months, and then Charlotte would be off to start gearing up to face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania while Becky would maybe continue on as the Smackdown Women’s Champion.  Now it looks like there’s a chance Becky will be in that WrestleMania match as well (no way she gets Ronda one on one instead of Charlotte) instead of defending against Asuka or Naomi on the same show.

Circumstances matter here.  Austin came up at a time when Bret had failed to captivate or inspire most of the audience enough to draw real money and Shawn Michaels had proven unreliable; at the first hint of any kind of potential it made plenty of sense to give him a run to the top and see what happened.  Becky on the other hand has risen at a time when there are no shortage of superb talents on the roster and wasn’t needed to rescue anyone from anything.  She was intended to be used as a plot device with the potential for some growth because quite frankly that’s all she was needed for at the time.  Ronda Rousey is already a big star and a compelling figure while Charlotte is the best female in ring performer in the company (more like the best in ring performer period until Roman gets back in my opinion) and has developed an ability to win skeptics over with her in ring performances and make them believers in her.  Asuka and Naomi have dedicated fanbases and are pretty well liked overall.  Sasha Banks and Bayley are still around, Alexa Bliss has evolved into a captivating character, and there is a pipeline from NXT with more on the way.  There was no star gap waiting to be filled here at all, no dire straits that needed escaping for the survival of the company.

The Rebellion

Austin was a rebel for sure, but he didn’t start out clashing with the powers that be.  For a while he was a miscreant who didn’t follow the rules, but he went almost a year before starting to butt heads with Vince onscreen to set up the legendary Austin vs McMahon feud.  It wasn’t until he was injured and kept showing up at RAW giving Stone Cold Stunners to whatever minion Vince sent out to tell him to go home that the real beef began and even then Vince didn’t really try to thwart him until after he won the title.  Ultimately his rebellion was against a boss who was blatantly putting his thumb on the scale to make his career hell while continuing to employ him because he made money.  Becky on the other hand feels like she’s been thwarted at every turn either by cheaters who took advantage of her or high ranking officials who constantly gave out favors to her supposed best friend while she had to earn everything, and lashed out against someone who at the time wasn’t doing anything wrong to her.  With Austin Vince was the guy who screwed Bret Hart on his way out the door and was screwing him every day while he was still there, whereas in Becky’s case Charlotte…………won a wrestling match fair and square.  Again, apples and oranges.

The Bottom Line

Austin of course jumpstarted interest in WWF programming and was the spearhead behind it regaining the lead in the Monday Night Wars from WCW.  RAW went from taping every other week to being live every week again, and WrestleMania went back to doing big stadiums instead of 15,000 seat arenas.  Today there is no competitor to overcome so you can only look at things like the WWE’s own numbers vs what it was doing before she turned.  Well it sure doesn’t look like she’s affecting the bottom line much. As hot as her act has been Evolution didn’t sell out until Nikki Bella was added to the main event.  Smackdown got under 2 million viewers two weeks in a row while she was champion and while I am anything but a ratings devotee you can’t hold someone up as some kind of catalyst to the business, to the point where you want them to main event WrestleMania in four months, and have nothing to back it up with.  If anything this is more like CM Punk, mostly energizing a group of existing fans that needed something new to latch on to, than Austin who brought in people who never watched before and are still around today.  And Punk never main evented WrestleMania either before he took his ball and went home (sorry, couldn’t resist).

As always the question is not what some fans are saying so much as it is what the fanbase as a whole is doing, and until we get evidence to the contrary we’re getting more noise than action.  As a Roman Reigns fan I will say for the 100th time that tweets and chants don’t matter if there’s no concrete action behind them, so minus any emergence of proof that she’s increasing business don’t expect Vince and Co to move everything around a lot for her.  To her credit, her meet and greets have gone through the roof so that is something, and I’ll bet she’s selling more T-shirts than she did before.  But that still makes her net impact debatable whereas with Austin there was no discussion to be had.  Austin, even with an injured neck that was touch and go for a good while, made Bret Hart utterly disposable and helped paper over two years of TV and Pay Per Views so well that people genuinely do not remember how good or bad they truly were.  Shawn Michaels was out of action for over four years, and was originally thought to be done for good, and we all didn’t even care much until he came back.  That’s how much Austin’s impact was over everything.  We watched him feud with Vince McMahon every week for two years for crying out loud.  As much as I’ve loved Becky and Charlotte’s matches I don’t think I’m up for another year and a half of them fighting each other.

The Longevity Question

This is the great unknown.  Austin was the unquestioned top man for two years, was out of action for a year, then shared that space with the Rock for another year and a half.  In that relatively short time he established himself as one of the top five stars in WWF/E history, and if there was any way he could work one more match today they’d put him on top of the card.  Becky has a long way to go in that regard. For one, her popularity has yet to endure any real storyline or real life  adversity.  Austin lost pay per view matches to further angles and went stretches without any titles.  For a month in 1999 we had Vince McMahon, Royal Rumble winner, and Austin on the outside looking in before WrestleMania XV.   Then he missed a whole year due to complications with his neck and back from previous injuries.  Right now the worst things Becky has dealt with on this run was missing a match with Rousey at Survivor Series (which she probably would have lost) due to injury, and the triple threat at TLC in which she did not retain her title but didn’t take any kind of pin or submit.  When Austin went through some low points his fans did walk around scared that Vince would dump him for the Rock, they held firm.  By contrast Becky’s most rabid fans have been on pins and needles since October waiting in a state of near paranoia for the inevitable moment when Vince is going to pull the rug out from under her, give everything back to Charlotte,and ‘bury’ her.

If this thing is going to be than a passing fad then her fans are going to have to sit through some stuff – losses, being put in a lower place on some cards, etc.  Us Roman Reigns fans did not waver while he went two years without either of the top titles and took a lot of losses to make other guys look good.  Auska’s biggest fans stayed with her through several pay per view losses, including a submission at WrestleMania, before finally reveling in victory at TLC this year.  And 30 years ago fans of Dusty Rhodes like myself stayed with him even as he booked himself to lose over and over to Ric Flair in World Title matches. If your devotion is dependent on her being booked entirely to your liking then that devotion isn’t very strong at all and this thing has no legs at all.  What if she doesn’t get the match with Rousey at Wrestlemania?  Or what if she does get it and taps out in 10 minutes?  Will the whole thing die from disappointment or apathy?  Austin lost his first big WrestleMania match clean.  Roman lost his first singles match there clean as well, then got a rematch three years later to the same guy and lost clean again. Movements that last persevere through the results that piss off it’s members.  We have yet to see if this one can.

And that’s not all.  What happens when she has to work with someone other than Charlotte as a foil?  Once Bret was gone Austin faced down Vince on TV every week and had to make due with Mick Foley (when he was still considered a midcard guy) and Kane as opponents some months.  His earliest battles with the Rock were when the latter was still learning his way around the ring.  What happens when Becky is asked to carry someone like Lana through a month long program or match up with someone who is pretty popular in their own right like Asuka or Naomi or Sasha Banks?  Will the same energy be there as when she’s facing the Queen, who a lot of people (of which I am not one) think ‘gets too much’?  It’s really hard to maintain an aggrieved stance when your opponent isn’t someone you can convince people has gotten preferential treatment (remember in storyline Charlotte has won matches to achieve her status, she wasn’t handed titles without fighting for them so a lot of the sentiment against is really against Ashley Fleihr and not Charlotte Flair).  Adapting to life after Charlotte and Ronda as opponents is going to be a crucial next step.  Austin did just that when his best opponents were literally taken off the board by release (Bret) or injury (Michaels).  We have no idea if Becky can do the same.

The Verdict

No they’re not the same.  Not even close.  Other than wearing black T-Shirts and getting a big bump because of who they were facing, the two really don’t have any parallels.  And that’s fine! In fact you do a disservice to both of them by equating them so easily.  Both characters have their own unique stories as do the people behind them.  Both of them had their own struggles to get where they are, and the uncertainties they faced at similar points along the way are entirely different things.  Austin was tasked with carrying a company out of the wilderness while Becky’s challenge is to remain a relevant and high positioned presence over the long haul in an ever growing pool of really talented female performers.   Those aren’t even apples and oranges in terms of objectives.

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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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