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News From Cook’s Corner 5.25.20: Memorial Day

Memorial Day almost feels too accurate, for this edition of Cook’s news…



Memorial Day Weekend holds a great deal of importance across the United States in which I live. It holds a little extra importance to me, as my birth took place on a Sunday during Memorial Day Weekend. I must admit it’s always been a little weird getting birthday presents during a time when we’re supposed to be somber and remembering those who gave their lives for our country. Or are we supposed to be happy about that? I’ve never really been sure, and I think if I asked ten different people I would get ten different answers. It’s difficult to say anything other than “Memorial Day is a day where we are supposed to remember soldiers while not working”. Some make a big display of it, and some complain that others don’t make enough of a display of it. Me, I just wish that people wouldn’t use it for political purposes, but I know that they will, and it’s pretty gross.

While all this is going on, I have a birthday. There is a low-level celebration at this point, since the numbers are getting bigger and I’d prefer to forget my actual age. I actually did for about six months a couple of years ago. It was pretty great. As far as presents go, I don’t ask for much, because the things I need are way too expensive for me to ask other people to pay for. A house, fancy car, good therapy…all these things cost way too much. Until Tony Khan slides into my DMs, I won’t feel comfortable asking anybody for these things.

This past week has been one of the worst I can remember as a wrestling fan. It would have been bad enough if it was only one of my best friends passing away far too soon. We had two wrestlers beloved by many pass way before their time.

There was other news over the past week. An AEW pay per view event. WWE getting mad at Owen Hart’s widow for no real reason other than she’s right. None of it is worth mentioning when we have so much to unpack. This Memorial Day edition of News From Cook’s Corner serves as a memorial to two fallen wrestlers, and something I need to get off my chest about the way my friend’s death was reported by the wrestling journalist with the most influence and most time in the profession. I prefer to write about good times…there aren’t any to be had this week.

Hana Kimura was 22 years old.

She had a whole life in front of her. She had the potential to do great things. Hana had already established herself as one of joshi’s top young stars, and had the ability to branch out & go other places if she so desired. She recently expanded her horizons by appearing on Terrace House, a popular Japanese reality show. From what I can tell, everybody Kimura worked with in wrestling loved her.

Unfortunately, we’re finding out how beloved Hana Kimura was by her peers because she’s no longer with us. STARDOM announced she passed away on Saturday in Japan, coming hours after Hana had posted some self-harm images on social media (later deleted) and left a message that can only be described as a goodbye.

What happened?

Like many reality shows, Terrace House has a very dedicated fanbase with a percentage of folks that take things way too seriously. An episode aired recently where Hana grew upset with a fellow castmate that accidentally washed her ring gear that had already been washed once, then threw it in the dryer causing it to shrink. She didn’t react well, leading to a torrent of online hatred from a portion of Terrace House fans who were already inclined to hate Hana for other reasons they’d decided on based off her appearances on the show. None of which would be acceptable reasons for telling somebody they need to kill themselves…because there is no fucking acceptable reason to do that.

I will never be able to wrap my head around why people think it’s ok to do that. Even if we all had super thick skin and never let anything people said ever bother us because we’re manly men or alphas or whatever…why would you tell somebody to kill themselves? It doesn’t compute to me. Now, I’ve said some pretty mean things over the years, especially in my younger days. I’ll probably say some things in the future that aren’t very kind. There are certain lines I wouldn’t cross. That’s because I have a sense of empathy. Even if I don’t particularly care for somebody, there’s still a human being in there somewhere.

I’m also smart enough to know that if I don’t like somebody that’s on a TV show, IT’S A TV SHOW. TELEVISION. ENTERTAINMENT. Not only would you have to be a sick piece of shit to send such hateful messages to somebody, you’d have to be a dumb piece of shit to not realize that even if it’s a “reality show”, it’s a show that’s largely based off the whims of the producers and what they decide makes a “good story”. Though, from what I can tell, the people that disliked Hana mainly did so because she had “big shoulders” and didn’t have the look of a typical Japanese woman. So maybe there was nothing the producers could have done to stop that.

Wikipedia tells me the episode in question debuted on Netflix Japan on March 31, and production on the show stopped on April 13. One would assume that Hana had little else but to deal with this abuse during the lockdown. It’s sickening. It’s all of the things that’s wrong with society in 2020. When we’re happy to empower those that abuse & denigrate others, this is what we end up with. A large group of people that believe that the only way to bring themselves up is to bring others down. Or, they don’t mind being down and just want everybody else to be as miserable as they are. They even have a nice little keyboard they can hide behind.

Most people could not handle what Hana had to deal with every day, and I’m saying that just based off a few messages I saw. I’m sure there was much worse, and there was obviously a lot more of it. A lot of people will say that they could, and there are plenty of folks that seem completely unbothered by what other people think. Maybe they’re just untouchable alphas. You don’t know unless you’ve been in that person’s shoes.

I’d like to think that if anything comes from the unnecessary death of Hana Kimura, it’s that some of us are just a little nicer to each other. A little more empathy from all of us would be nice. I’m keeping my expectations low because I’ve noticed that some people refuse to ever learn anything.

Hana deserved better. I’m terribly sorry for the loss to her family and all the people around the world that loved her, but couldn’t drown out the terrible monsters that did her in.

Shad Gaspard died a hero.

I think most fathers would make the same choice Shad did, given the situation. He & his son were caught in a rip current. Once lifeguards arrived, Shad instructed them to save his son first. I’d assume they would have done so anyway, but then I’ve never been in a rip current or had to save anybody from one, and it’s been years since I watched Baywatch. Unfortunately, once Shad’s son was saved, Shad disappeared. He didn’t re-appear until a couple of days later on the shores of Venice Beach.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost ten years since Gaspard was part of WWE. Some have commented that they were surprised how much news his death made considering that Cryme Tyme was never really a major part of the show and weren’t one of WWE’s longest-tenured acts. They had an affiliation with John Cena for like two weeks, which was mentioned in a $40,000 donation to a GoFundMe for Shad’s family. All this tells me is that Cryme Tyme probably should have been featured more back in the day. They always seemed over to me. I wouldn’t put them in the same category as Morton & Gibson, but they were a popular tag team.

I remember when Cryme Tyme split up and everybody thought he was going to be the star that broke out. Instead, Shad got released, and JTG stayed on the payroll for years without actually doing anything. I don’t think anybody bet on that one. Gaspard did some indy bookings here and there, with some alongside JTG as “Crime Time” once WWE finally let him go.

Shad had other interests though. He did some acting, some modeling, wrote a graphic novel. He did motion capture work for multiple video games. Started a family, obviously. There was also the time where he detained a drunkard that was trying to rob a gas station. You hear nothing but good things about Shad Gaspard, and I can’t say I remember hearing anything bad about him while he was alive.

You feel bad for his family, and you hope his son can cope with the traumatic event.

I’m not the first person to have a bone to pick with Dave Meltzer on this website.

I’m certainly not the first person online. In fact, picking on Dave has become a bit of a cottage industry for some people. Conrad Thompson figured out years ago that he could have some pretty successful podcasts by reading old Wrestling Observers to old-timers. Bruce Prichard & Eric Bischoff were happy to use erroneous information to bump up whatever talking points they were selling, and fans were happy to pick on Dave.

I’ve always held back a little bit. For one thing, I’ve never claimed to be any kind of insider. I’m just a guy that spouts off on the Internet. Some of it might be true, some of it might be false, some of it might be unintelligible. Somebody that lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones, and there’s a reason why I’m afraid to change clothes too often.

Also, I have respect for Meltzer’s longevity. The guy has been writing about pro wrestling nonstop since before I was born. I’m not exactly young anymore, so that’s a lot of material produced over the years. Dave Meltzer has been sold to us for years as pro wrestling’s pre-eminent journalist, which most of us didn’t argue with because of the competition. We’ve got some young guns out there fighting over who’s next in line, but right now Dave’s still the head honcho of this game.

That being said, when you’re pro wrestling’s #1 journalist, the guy everybody looks to when the news breaks and things are happening, you’re held to a higher standard. That’s the way it has to be. Dave Meltzer has to be on his best at all times. He’s not a backwoods hillbilly with no connections like me, who can write any sort of rubbish because that’s what’s expected of me. People expect better from Dave F’n Meltzer.

So when I was informed that Dave wrote about Larry Csonka in the Observer, and informed of what he wrote, I was surprised to learn something I didn’t know about my buddy.

Honestly, while talking with some friends about it, I wasn’t sure if we should dispute it or not. “Motorcycle accident” kinda makes Larry sound like a badass, right? Especially if he’d already had part of his leg amputated. I might have missed Larry’s biker years, but I can tell you that he absolutely did not lose his leg due to a motorcycle accident. The truth isn’t as sexy.

Larry suffered an injury while moving a paving stone for some yard work. He patched things up, he went on doing what he usually did, which was review wrestling shows. Sometime during the next week it got infected. The pain became too much and he had to go to the hospital. Had to finish reviewing his second show of the day though, because he was Larry Csonka. (One of those was a freaking Wrestle Kingdom show too. I’m telling you, the guy wasn’t human.) They had to remove part of his leg. The second operation happened after he didn’t react well to the first one.

To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure on Friday when I was informed of Dave’s bit. I remembered part of the story, but I went back to the podcast Larry did on his injury to make sure I had things right. Heck, I went back to another one that Dave also appeared on. In his defense, it’s not like I’ve listened to everybody on every podcast I’ve ever been on. But, I dunno, if I heard that Jerome Cusson was going to talk about how he lost an arm the other day, that might interest me. You don’t hear about that every day on a wrestling podcast, I don’t think.

It’s an amazing thing that I thought to go back to a podcast somebody did about their injury to properly write about it, yet the pre-eminent journalist in our field, who, by the way, has people writing on his website & appearing on podcasts there that knew Larry & knew other people that knew Larry, just went off what he thought happened. He could have left out what he thought happened, said Larry lost his leg previously, and we wouldn’t have thought anything of it.

Apparently somebody went in and fixed it for Dave, so at least there’s that. I guess.

I’m not even mad about it. I’m disappointed. We expect better from the man that who has done this longer than anybody, and has had more success than anybody at it. I am starting to understand why Bruce & Eric get so worked up about these things Conrad reads them. As much as I’ve heard both are full of it, I get their vitriol towards Dave. When you hear something about a friend that you know is 100% untrue, but you also know that a lot of people will believe it because it’s Dave F’n Meltzer, and you hear multiple things like that every week, I imagine it adds up.

Not to mention the fact that when you read one thing you know is untrue, it calls into question everything else Dave’s written over the years. That’s a lot of things to call into question, and makes me wonder if we can ever have a true history of pro wrestling that isn’t sanitized by WWE for our protection. That’s not good.

I just want Meltzer to be a better reporter than me, somebody who has never done any reporting in his life. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Thanks for reading. I can 100% guarantee you that next week will be better. Until then, keep your stick on the ice.

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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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