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News From Cook’s Corner 8.10.20: Chaos!

Cook covers quite a plethora of News this week! The happy, the crappy, the sad and the mad!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! It’s certainly been an eventful week in the world of wrestling. AEW & WWE have created more conversation than I can shake a stick at. As has seemed to happen a lot this year, Sunday marked the passing of a wrestling legend of some note. We’ll cover as much as we can before I get cranky about the Nashville Predators.

See, I don’t write about hockey anymore, so I probably shouldn’t call for any firings of people that have been there for two decades and haven’t produced a Stanley Cup. That just wouldn’t be nice, and maybe I’m just bitter that I wrote an article about the Predators GM for a publication a couple of years ago, was promised a sum of money and never got it. Might be that, I’m not sure.

That might have been the world’s first bitterbrag. Seems like a fine note to start on, right?

Best & Worst? Oof, let’s forget that lame title popped into my head.

Last week got off to an incredibly good start for Tony Khan. His Fulham F.C. made its way back into the Premier League by winning the EFL Championship Promotion Playoffs. AEW Dynamite had its best showing in the ratings in many weeks, especially in those key demos. Tony was feeling pretty good.

I mean, I can’t think of a week in 2020 that I’d rate in my top 1,000 weeks, so good for him, I guess? Things seemed to go downhill after that tweet, however. There was the AEW Heels “controversy”, which was a bit overblown on the Internet, but still a headache for management I’m sure. Friday brought some news that I’m sure Khan & the rest of management weren’t hoping to hear anytime soon: the dismissal of Kevin Reilly from WarnerMedia. Reilly was the president of TNT, TBS & TruTV & content chief, and the main force in bringing AEW to TNT. This is part of a management shakeup that seems to be taking place due to HBO Max’s stumble out of the gate.

Is it time to panic about the Wednesday Night Skirmish ending?

Well…logic would say no, simply because of those ratings. But then you take a look at who’s being inserted into Reilly’s spot, and then you wonder a bit. Casey Bloys, current President of HBO, will be overseeing HBO Max, TNT, TBS & TruTV. Bloys was responsible for getting HBO out of the boxing business, which was pretty shocking at the time since HBO had been airing boxing since almost day one as a pay television network. Bloys will be reporting to Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff.

Hopefully it’s much ado about nothing, but management shakeups always result in some unexpected changes. Us longtime wrestling fans still remember WCW’s end coming due to a management shakeup. WCW & AEW are different situations in that WCW was owned by Time Warner and AOL management came in and decided they didn’t want to spend money on running a wrestling promotion. WarnerMedia doesn’t own AEW.

It’s a situation to keep an eye on. Maybe nothing changes in the short-term, but one imagines that AEW’s leash might be a bit shorter if things take a turn. Even if Casey Bloys doesn’t have an obsession against combat sports, we’ve seen new management dump things just for the sake of getting rid of stuff the old guy approved. Hopefully Tony is hard at work making sure new management realizes the value of his programming.

Virus In My Mind

Oh, and just when things couldn’t get more interesting during Tony’s best week ever, we have Chris Jericho & Fozzy back on tour. Fozzy did shows in Iowa, North & South Dakota. Jericho spoke on this on YouTube, defending the shows by saying they took place in states with low numbers of cases. I would draw the conclusion that those states have low numbers of cases because they don’t have very many residents or much tourism. Well, except this week for South Dakota, where the city of Sturgis is holding their annual motorcycle rally with a complete lack of social distancing or any type of protocols.

Wanna guess where Fozzy’s last tour date was? That’s right, the former home of WCW Road Wild!

Jericho also said they were handing out masks at the door and doing temperature checks. The pictures of the concerts didn’t show too many masks from what I saw. Hopefully, there’s nothing to worry about here & Jericho will be healthy for his big match with Orange Cassidy on Wednesday night. The whole thing seems really risky and unintelligent from where I sit, but that’s kinda on brand for Jericho here in 2020. Just a series of unfortunate decisions, most of which have been harmless, except for the idea that people might actually listen to Jericho’s “all lives matter” rhetoric or his various conspiracy theories or his favorite politician kids. You might think they wouldn’t, but I learned a long time ago not to overestimate the intelligence of people.

Now he’s taking the risk of bringing the biker corona to AEW. So much for not running a sloppy shop.

You can’t stay mad at Chris Jericho

At least I can’t. Not too long after writing the above screed about Jericho’s idiotic concerts in covid pits, he busts out this gem on the Twitter Machine:

Come on now. How can I stay mad at this guy? Just when I think he’s done the dumbest thing anybody could possibly do and I lose faith in the Demo God, he goes and completely redeems himself. It’s amazing, honestly.

Now we just gotta hope the old coot adheres to the suspension.


A few hours after this column got posted last week, the Internet was all abuzz over news that was coming out of Orlando. Apparently, the Raw tapings had decended into complete & utter chaos. There were several news posts about this throughout the day, with people getting all crazy over whatever Shane McMahon was planning to do, along with the debut of a new faction. Would it be the Undisputed Era? Much discussion was had online, and the common consensus I saw was “Well, Raw could be interesting tonight!”. Which is exactly what WWE was hoping people would say.

Honestly, WWE wants us to think things are chaotic backstage. They’ve always wanted us to think so. See, wrestlers & promoters are carnies at heart. They’re always working. What do they do when they run across fans that think they’re smart? They play into that. If they can’t get interested in their stories on-screen, they’ll try and get us interested in what’s going on off-screen.

Mind you, Vince McMahon is still hands on with everything and writers have to go insane trying to write something that appeases him. But whenever I read these reports about how things are super crazy backstage, I tend to roll my eyes. If nothing else, these “sources” should be used to the types of things they feed reporters by now.

WWE’s main storylines at the moment are all about chaos. NXT has a renegade NFL punter running around and kicking former champions in the head. Raw Underground features Shane McMahon running a fight club somewhere in the Performance Center. Then we have Retribution, which…well, WWE told us it wasn’t supposed to be political, which absolutely means it’s political. Vince McMahon saw some Antifa stuff on Fox News, and now we have Retribution. A bunch of small people in dark masks and attire spray painting stuff, flipping over tables, cutting ring ropes with chain saws & beating up random audience members.

I mean…the rumor a couple of weeks ago was that they were going to do a new Nation of Domination. So it’s probably for the best they’re going this route instead.


James Harris had an interesting wrestling career. He started out in the Gulf Coast region as “Sugar Bear” Harris, collecting a number of regional titles. At 6’7 and 380 pounds, Harris was going to have a good chance at being successful wherever he went. That included Europe, where he spent some time in Britain’s Joint Promotions as the Mississippi Mauler, challenging for the heavyweight championship.

An ankle injury sent him home to America. He went to Memphis to catch up with a friend, “Dream Machine” Troy Graham. Once Jerry Lawler met Harris & got a look at him, he knew there was some potential there. Harris went to Jerry Jarrett’s house soon after, Lawler painted him up, and some videos were shot to introduce “Kimala the Ugandan Giant” to the CWA.

Why Uganda? Well, former Ugandan president Idi Amin had been in the news & was the subject of a popular movie fairly recently. He was a remorseless dictator who had no qualms about taking out political opposition or wives that displeased him. He was even a rumored cannibal. Definitely the kind of guy that pro wrestling could take something from, so Kamala was billed as a former bodyguard of Amin. J.J. Dillon was given credit for discovering him, since top heel manager Jimmy Hart was in Memphis way too often to make any trips to Uganda.

Kamala laid waste to everybody in his path with simplistic offense. He could also do some pretty athletic things, but mostly he just pulverized people. Lawler feuded with him on top of cards, and promoters were paying attention. Bill Watts booked him for Mid-South once he was done in Memphis, with Skandor Akbar managing him as part of Devastation Inc. Kamala wrestled the likes of Andre the Giant & Junkyard Dog, doing big business in the Mid-South territory. World Class was Kamala’s next stop, where of course he feuded with the Von Erichs.

Andre recommended Kamala to the WWF brass, so Kamala got to go on Tuesday Night Titans and eat a live chicken. He had three seperate stints with the WWF, the first being the second half of 1984 where he feuded with Andre & Hulk Hogan. Kamala went away for awhile, working for the AWA, All Japan and pretty much everywhere. People liked booking him. His return to the WWF in late 1986 led to a memorable series of matches with Hogan that did really big box office. Not much happened after, though. The big guy didn’t even make WrestleMania III, and his pay not being what he thought it should be led to his departure.

Again, there were no shortage of options for Kamala. Japan, Mexico, Memphis, World Class, if somebody had a ring and was on this planet , Kamala was there at one point or another. He returned to the WWF in 1992, and this is where I saw the Ugandan Giant for the first time. Talk about impressive! The guy needed a little work learning how to pin people, and I didn’t think Dr. Harvey Wippleman & Kim Chee were the brain trust to get it done, but Kamala definitely impressed eight year old me.

Kamala’s main business during this period of time was a feud with The Undertaker. It was a perfect fit, as Undertaker had recently turned good and needed to fight somebody that just might be able to get some heat on him. Kamala was the right person to do that. You thought it could go either way at SummerSlam 1992. However, there was a pay disparity, Kamala wasn’t too happy about it, and he was pushed down the card afterward. I can’t say that Kamala turning good and joining the Reverend Slick did anything for me. I preferred my Ugandan Giants to be headhunters, what can I say?

The next time Kamala popped up on television, he was back to being a headhunter. He joined Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom in another attempt to destroy Hulk Hogan. Shockingly they were unsuccessful. Kamala’s appearance in War Games at Fall Brawl 1995 was his last major match. I mean, we could count the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania X-Seven, but that was about it. He did make several appearance for WWE in the mid-2000s, including matches with Randy Orton & Umaga. We also can’t forget his Diva Search appearance.

He also challenged Bryan Danielson for the ROH Championship, squashed Larry Sweeney & Eddie Kingston, and was a guest at Jay Lethal & SoCal Val’s wedding.

James Harris went through serious difficulties later in life. He lost part of both of his legs due to diabetes. He was put on life support in November 2017 but managed to recover. Sadly, last week he tested positive for the coronavirus and would pass away on Sunday at the age of 70. The bright side is that his pain & suffering is over now. He might be hanging out with Sweeney & Marvelous Mitch Ryder for all I know.

I’ve discussed the life & times of Kamala without addressing one subject that comes up from time to time: was the gimmick racist? Absolutely, but the man made a career off of it. He should have made more money, which also speaks poorly of the wrestling business, but at the end of the day James Harris was able to get over with what he was given. That’s all you can do sometimes.

I was going to discuss the news involving Marty Jannetty possibly confessing to a murder a number of years ago, but honestly I just think the guy needs help. No need for me to delve any further into that. So until next week, 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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