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The Weekly Brainbuster: The Top 5 Wrestle Kingdom Matches (through WK13)

This week’s Brainbuster takes a look at Matt’s Top 5 Wrestle Kingdom matches headed into this weekend’s 14th edition of the event!



Kazuchika Okada WrestleKingdom Kenny Omega

This week’s Brainbuster takes a look at Matt’s Top 5 Wrestle Kingdom matches headed into this weekend’s 14th edition of the event!

Welcome to a special edition of The Brainbuster! No power rankings article again this week, some technical difficulties in my laboratory of statistics, but we move on! As of the writing of this we are just 12 hours away from New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 14! My alarms are set, I’m ready. In anticipation of what many wrestling fans agree is the best night of professional wrestling bell to bell in the world, lets take a look at the Top 5 matches in Wrestle Kingdom history!

Honorable Mentions:

1- Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion Minoru Suzuki vs Yuji Nagata
Wrestle Kingdom 1 – January 4th, 2007 – NJPW 35th Anniversary

Many viewed this match as the main attraction on this card, even though Hiroshi Tanahashi would defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship later. Suzuki came in as the reigning champion and faced off against arguably at the time, one of the top recognized names in Japanese professional wrestling in the world. Suzuki would unleash a vicious assault outside the ring, both men ended up broken and bloody by the end. It was not to be for Nagata on this night as a referee stoppage ended his title hopes, and cemented Suzuki his second title defense of his reign.

2- IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Wrestle Kingdom 2 – January 4th, 2008

In a match up between two men who would battle for the title of Ace for the next decade, the reigning G1 winner and IWGP Champion faced the leader of RISE Shinsuke Nakamura. Two years prior, Nakamura lost his championship match against Brock Lesnar, but here he defeated his rival with the Landslide, a second rope Samoan Driver, hooking the legs to claim his second IWGP Championship. There would be many more Tanahashi/Nakamura matches through the years, but this one is truly a memorable match. What I most enjoy about it is you can (and have to) watch it with Japanese commentary, but you understand the story being told and that is vital to wrestling. Both of them are masters of their crafts, and not the last time they will appear on this match

The Top 5 WrestleKingdom Matches Through WK13

#5 IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
Wrestle Kingdom 7 – January 4th, 2013

The match that started it all. The rejuvenation of New Japan Pro Wrestling. This match was made when Kazuchika Okada won the G1 in his first try in 2012. Tanahashi had been well established as the Ace of New Japan by this point, but remarkably, Okada was a former IWGP Heavyweight Champion already as well, besting Tanahashi at A New Beginning in 2012. They would clash again at Dominion with Tanahashi taking the title back. This match was epic in almost every way you could imagine. It told a great story with Okada trying to prove himself again and again, but Tanahashi tested Okada and the veteran had the answers to the test. Okada would continuously miss Rainmakers as Tanahashi had his rival scouted in their third match in a year. Okada kicked out of a High Fly Flow, avoided a submission loss by scratching and clawing to the ropes, but the second High Fly Flow ended the match after 33 minutes and the Ace retained.

#4 IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles
Wrestle Kingdom 10 – January 4th, 2016

I just watched this match again yesterday, and it was truly one of the most fun matches I’ve ever watched. That’s a lot of praise for the fourth match in a top 5 list, but that just tells you what you’re in for coming up. I had a tough time deciding between this or the next match for the third entry, but the aftermath of this match left a lot to be desired as both men would leave the company, sending shockwaves throughout the wrestling world, but, it did not allow either man to follow up this spectacle. The story here was that Styles regarded Nakamura as one of the best in the world, and he wanted to beat the best in the Toyko Dome. In November 2015, Styles aggravated a back injury in storyline as he was pulling double duty between ROH and NJPW, and that injury was mentioned several times here. Styles even went as far as to feign a pinched nerve after getting slammed into the turnbuckle, but attacked Nakamura from behind to a chorus of boos. Nakamura would lead a charge of his own, trying to Bome Ye multiple times, but Styles dodged them, before getting caught in the teeth off the middle turnbuckle. Nakamura couldn’t make the cover. Kevin Kelly reminded everyone that both men had failed to take advantage of several finishing moves throughout the match. Styles hit what we now recognize as the Phenomenal Forearm but couldn’t get three. Nakamura would end the match with a vicious Bome Ye and retain after 24 minutes. The atmosphere created by these two mega icons colliding in the Toyko Dome was truly the definition of dream match. They gave it their all, telling a great story, working over limbs and targeting injuries old and new.

*Every time Styles tried the Styles Clash he was booed out of the arena, due to the moves perceived danger in Japan after breaking the necks of several wrestlers months prior to this match. Eventually, Styles would connect on one, and eerily enough, Nakamura landed awkwardly on his neck and shoulder, but I believe it was a worked shoot for heat, as Nakamura appeared to attempt to protect himself. If it was a botch, its unfortunate, but I looked at it several times, and I do think it was an attempt to get sympathy for Nakamura and heat for Styles during the match.

#3 IWGP IC Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kota Ibushi
Wrestle Kingdom 9 – January 4th, 2015

Happening a year before the previous match, it was also bred from a challenger wanting to beat Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom for the coveted Intercontinental Championship. Kota Ibushi would humiliate Nakamura in November 2014 during a post-match speech with an amateur takedown suplex and challenging The King of Strong Styles for the Toyko Dome. It was billed as the student versus the teacher, as Ibushi idolized Nakamura and would even attempt the Bome Ye during the match. Nakamura had the entrance of a lifetime, coming to the ring in a red robe with a crown fit for a King, proclaiming himself Mr. Wrestle Kingdom in the process. This was a star making match for the young Golden Star Kota Ibushi, as he graduated from he junior division and delivered a once in a lifetime match here. Nakamura tried to ground the athletic high flyer with grapples and armbars, but Ibushi would take to the sky almost winning the championship with a Phoenix Splash- but he missed! Bome Ye connects! Kickout! Insane. The fans thought it was over. Near the end, both men exhausted, Ibushi lifts Nakamura off the mat with a dead lift german suplex which is burned into my memory and is the one thing I remember most about the match. Nakamura would finally strike his way to victory after multiple Bome Ye’s for the victory after 20 minutes. From the star making and career defining performance of Kota Ibushi, to the pageantry of Nakamura’s entrance, to the hard hitting strikes, the kickouts, and everything in between, this is a special match and one of my favorites, yet better is to come!

#2 IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada
Wrestle Kingdom 9 – January 4th, 2015

A rematch from two years prior. Kazuchika Okada would again win G1, challenging Tanahashi for the championship again. This match was special because it was commentated by Jim Ross and Matt Stryker and was the first main event in Wrestle Kingdom history to have English commentary. Historical standards aside, the history of these two established in just three calendar years made this match truly important in prelude, and memorable in execution. They played a similar story from two years prior with Okada trying to outsmart Tanahashi and taunt the champion, but again Tanahashi used his years of in ring knowledge and his history with Okada against him. Knowing the eyes of the world were on him, Tanahashi gave us a “Wrestle Kingdom Moment” leaping from the top rope across the barricade into the fans connecting with a High Fly Flow onto Okada in the crowd. You really have to see that to believe it. From there they would exchange blows, multiple High Fly Flows were not enough to put away the Rainmaker. Tanahashi tried flash pins, but those were not enough either. Tanahashi reversed the Rainmaker lariat into a dragon suplex, gets two. Okada with a dropkick that shakes the arena and Jim Ross by gawds the hell out of it. His added commentary added so much magic to this match. Okada can not put away Tanahashi, with the lariat blocked again, Tanahashi unloads with patented dragon screws, multiple High Fly Flows again, and pins Okada once more after 31 minutes of five star wrestling. Many argue this is the greatest match they ever had, and the greatest match in Wrestle Kingdom history, but in the words of Yoda Return of the Jedi…there is another.

#1 IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega
Wrestle Kingdom 11 – January 4th, 2017

This match is the definition of wrestling perfection. It is not only the best Wrestle Kingdom match of all time, it is in my top 10 matches ever. The story here was Omega challenging after winning the G1. Omega had taken over lead of The Bullet Club in January 2016, and won the IWGP IC Championship in February. He would go on to wrestle in the first ever Ladder match in New Japan, and would arguably be the most valuable wrestler in the company heading into this match. Omega would draw on his love of anime and video games (one of the reasons he moved to Japan in 2013), coming out with a large anime style gun attached to his arm, and a one winged angel crossed over his back.

Omega knew that the Rainmaker could end the match at any point, so he targeted Okada’s legs and arms throughout the opening and middle of the match. To me, that was amazing to see unfold. You don’t see that in major American promotions, few and very far between anyway. Omega worked on Okada’s arms and legs, kicking, twisting, and bruising them on the outside, everything he could think of to sap the power of Okada making the Rainmaker as useless as possible. Omega would also work the neck, softening the champion for his One Winged Angel, a direct elevated driver on the back of the neck. Omega was masterful here, working a story and a style reminiscent of a Ric Flair or Bryan Danielson, using his opponents strengths against him. The spectacle and historical importance of the two previous matches on this list were paled in comparison to the psychology of this one. Like I said, it compares to any of the best stuff Flair or Danielson ever did in any match. There were multiple crashes through tables, and hard assaults on the outside enough to end any match, but not this one. Omega sustained not one nor two but five Rainmakers and kicked out. Okada countered the One Wing Angel in one of the most athletic ways that even a contortionist should ask him how he did it. The escalation of this match was magical, with both men giving everything they had. I had several thoughts they were going the distance and time limit drawing, but it was Okada who survived an Omega Bome Ye knee strike and delivered a devastating Rainmaker that ended the match after 47 minutes. Omega was never able to hit the One Winged Angel. We were left to wonder if Okada could have survived if he hit it after the methodical breakdown that Omega delivered in this match. It is absolutely one of the greatest matches ever wrestled. Arigato! Arigato! Arigato!

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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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