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Mishal’s Top 5 Takeaways From WWE SummerSlam Weekend

Mishal checks in with his big takeaways from WWE SummerSlam 2020 and NXT Takeover XXX!



Seth Rollins WWE SummerSlam 2020

Mishal checks in with his big takeaways from WWE SummerSlam 2020 and NXT Takeover XXX!

SummerSlam Weekend has now come & gone, and we have a lot to look back on after this fairly eventful weekend.

Being positioned as the 2nd biggest series of nights in the wrestling calendar is no easy mantle to carry around for a company, brand or show, but this year it seemed like WWE was intent on making the biggest impact they could under the circumstances handed to them. In the midst of a pandemic the company went all out to create intrigue around their product at a time when it is struggling to gain traction with mainstream audiences, enhance their presentation beyond the restrictions of a Performance Centre & give us the fans more to chew on heading into the fall with changes started to be made to how they present the storylines in the future.

This weekend consisted of two shows; SummerSlam itself & NXT TakeOver XXX, both carrying a gigantic level of potential on their shoulders.

TakeOver XXX was for the resident, hardcore wrestling fan. It was a night focused on one aspect; the in-ring action, not spectacle or the bright lights we’re used to seeing from the main roster. It was a smaller show, outside the larger scale arena of its follow-up event & gave wrestling’s most pure fans something to drool over.

SummerSlam, on the other hand, was all about the spectacle. Haling from the newly designed ‘Thunderdome’, an arena packed to the brim with LED boards to encourage fan interaction, a new lighting stage to make the superstars feel as large as they’re presented, a new setup which signals some kind of familiarity with the product prior to COVID-19 & the biggest news of all, the return of pyro to a WWE stage. On top of the new layout there was an abundance of storylines to juggle, from Strowman vs Wyatt, McIntyre vs Orton, Rollins vs The Mysterios, Mandy vs Sonya or Asuka facing both Bayley & Sasha Banks, it was a card with so much potential despite some of the gripes the product has at the moment.

And while both shows were highly entertaining in their own right, there is simply too much content to cover for me to include every noteworthy moment on a single list, so for the time being, here are the 5 biggest takeaways from the 2020 SummerSlam weekend.

5. Pat McAfee is a natural

Let’s give credit where credit is due, SummerSlam weekend hosted not one, but two big-time debuts over the course of its run, the one that’s received the most overall build & attention is that off Dominick Mysterio, primarily due to the standing of his family in the company & link to Seth Rollins, one of WWE’s biggest stars. And even though Dominick’s debut served as a really nice piece of history, as well as an incredible feel-good moment to those who saw him on TV back in 2005, I can’t help but think Pat McAfee stole the weekend for me.

As someone who was never an avid viewer of the NFL or mostly any other sport for that matter, my initial investment in this feud as a whole was minimal at best. At the very least it was something different for the NXT brand & while I’m not the biggest fan of celebrity involvement in professional wrestling outside of a few exceptions, seeing something entirely different on NXT was a welcome change.

What I wasn’t expecting, was for this to be nearly as good as it ended up being when the bell rang.

Unlike the Dominick Mysterio match 24 hours later, both McAfee & Cole wrestled under no restraints, no stipulations, no way of covering up any potential hiccups, instead they went the traditional route, wrestling their hearts out for close to 20 minutes. Nothing about the match was necessarily special, nor was it meant to be, what it did do, however, was display the raw, natural talent possessed by the former NFL star himself. From the stunning Senton off the top rope, backflip off the top to the mat, the leaping Superplex late in the match or just his natural ability to excel at the art of professional wrestling, watching the man in a ring was a delight. I’d even go as far to say it was one of my favourite moments of 2020 so far, just based on the sheer surprise everything came as.

Wrestling, as we’ve seen in the past, isn’t for everyone who takes a small role on from outside the industry, MacAfee, on the other hand, looked better than a good chunk of current talent on the roster. He never looked out of place (aside from his awkward lock-up) & felt as much of a wrestler as anyone you can put in the ring, particularly against the likes of a former NXT Champion like Adam Cole.

4. The ‘Thunderdome’ blew me away

On paper, the idea of WWE’s ‘Thunderdome’ seemed ridiculous to me. It came across as a concept too ambitious for its own good, relying on an obscene level of technology that in my head would have made the show even harder to watch than without a live audience, thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.

WWE’s ‘Thunderdome’ worked wonders, at least for myself personally. While the actual feeling of the live audience interacting with their favourite superstars is still sorely missing, any kind of change at this point is better than what we previously had. The use of LED screens to bring the audience at home into the arena, the unique soundstage that breathes new life into a product that was previously occupied by roughly 30 people in a small training centre, the set design at least brings that ‘larger than life’ feel that WWE is known for & at the very least the company is trying to replicate what their average audience is used to seeing. Which is no easy task under the circumstances.

Whether we talk about SmackDown or SummerSlam, both shows had a distinct feeling to them that brought back some of that glory & grandeur you always hear Michael Cole & Corey Graves gush about on commentary, and while the authenticity is another subject entirely, the level of effort put in by everyone involved blew me away on its own. Say what you will about WWE, nobody puts on a show quite like them.

Getting used to fans being present via LED screens will be an adjustment I’ll have to weave in over the coming weeks, but it’s the first time in a long time that watching a WWE show felt like a ‘WWE show’.

3. We never saw ‘The Big Dog’ coming

Roman Reigns’ return to WWE on Sunday night was one of the very few genuine surprises the modern-day product of WWE has handed us over the last number of years, considering everything we’ve seen.

Even the likes of Edge’s return (while awesome) always had that hint of predictability due to various backstage rumours & his SummerSlam appearance, but due to the pandemic taking its toll on others outside the company getting their hands on close information, for the most part, but Roman Reigns’ return felt like the most genuine shock seen on the program in months since his absence.

The lack of crowd didn’t hurt his appearance either, as the presence of Reigns has been missing since around March when the company lost arguably its biggest current name at a time when they never needed him more with so many talents either leaving the company due to budget cuts, creative difference or due to health reasons as a result of COVID-19. Along with him missing a big-money match opposite Goldberg of all people, SmackDown, in particular, has lacked the star-power it had prior to Reigns’ absence, with the likes of Bray Wyatt & Braun Strowman having to carry most of the baggage as a result.

With Reigns’ back, the product as a whole feels somewhat rejuvenated, with a legitimate threat standing in front of two men who are now established main event talents & more importantly, the Universal Title feels like an actual item of value, rather than an element in the backdrop of a personal rivalry.

2. Seth Rollins, WWE’s hottest commodity

Listen, WWE has a lot of talent. I love Bray Wyatt, Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, Keith Lee, AJ Styles, Matt Riddle, Daniel Bryan, Shayna Baszler, Bayley, Asuka, heck even MVP has been on fire as of late. But nobody, not a single member of their roster, defines their character quite as well as Seth Rollins does at this point in time.

Rollins has been searching for a definition for the longest time now, in particular following the dismal booking his character received following last years WrestleMania & victory over Brock Lesnar which left him with no clear path forward following a series of dreadful feuds that left fans more divided on him than ever in his career. And while the road to get to where we are with the ‘Monday Night Messiah’ has been bumpy, he’s finally come full circle as a character. With a gimmick that doesn’t just work despite the over-the-top nature, but oddly enough suits his personality perfectly with how fantastic his work is as a heel.

He more than anything embodies this god-like character he presents, through his in-ring work, promo work, incredibly bombastic theme music & even the manner in which he carries himself from the entrance down to the ring. After the longest time, Seth Rollins is his own man, not simply the man who broke The Shield & is riding that wave of momentum, it feels like he’s found his groove as a performer, and Sunday was further proof of his genesis from what he was not too long ago.

Many gimmicks in the company have their charms, but Seth Rollins is one of the odd ones that you never doubt has a gimmick behind the camera, this is simply him as a performer. Where his current feud with Mysterio’s goes is anyone’s guess, but no matter where he ends up, no star has me as interested as Rollins does.

1. WWE SummerSlam > NXT TakeOver XXX

It’s become somewhat of a ‘meme’ on the internet, social media & within the wrestling community to always state that the main roster of WWE stands no chance when placed opposite an NXT show.

And when you look at the historical record of both sides of the company, you wouldn’t be crazy for thinking so.

Unlike the abundance of main roster shows we get on a yearly basis, NXT’s Takeover events are insanely consistent in overall quality. They certainly aren’t all perfect, but the level of quality in terms of storytelling & even the basic wrestling goes, they’ve almost always outperformed their main roster counterparts. However, this past Sunday was one of the few times I’d say WWE’s main roster outdid the much smaller brand that acts as a warm-up to their much larger presentations.

Takeover shows always position themselves for the more hardcore wrestling fan, but to say they possess no qualities for a casual fan to admire is a bit of stretch to claim. This Sunday, however, was one of the odd times where the main roster arguably gave the better, more well-rounded show for fans of all kinds.

Takeover XXX, for my money, was a ho-hum event, with a plethora of solid matches (and one fantastic outing between Cole & MacAfee) but nothing that really ‘stood out’ per se. The shows ladder match did its job perfectly well despite feeling a bit more choreographed than I would have liked, the women did a fine job, Finn Balors clash with Timothy Thatcher started things off well, but the show never reached that ‘next level’ we’re used to seeing. Most of my issues lie with the main event, which had its moments, but was so overly long & plagued with the same issues so many other NXT main events hold that it tanked the pacing of the show to a grinding halt. Rather than all-out war or hoss fight, the shows closing match was a prolonged snooze when compared to the heated build it received in the days leading up to the event.

SummerSlam, on the other hand, was more or less booked to perfection, with not a single match not ending in a result I viewed as unsatisfactory at all. While the main event of the show is arguably its biggest blunder, the storytelling & action at least established the tension both Strowman & Wyatt had built up over the previous months, as clunky as it was at times. Elsewhere you had an excellent WWE Championship Match that was my match of the weekend, two great Women’s title matches, Dominick Mysterio putting on a solid debut opposite Seth Rollins, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville continuing to excel & the long-awaited return of Roman Reigns to cap things off. As far as a big-time show goes, it doesn’t get much better than SummerSlam 2020 for me, while NXT has a track record of outperforming the main roster, this past weekend showed that when they want to, the company’s main booking team has what it takes to craft something truly spectacular.

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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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