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Mishal’s Top 5: Hell In A Cell Matches

In preparation for this weekend’s PPV, Mishal presents the Top 5 Hell In A Cell matches!



WWE Hell In A Cell Badd Blood 1997

In preparation for this weekend’s PPV, Mishal presents the Top 5 Hell In A Cell matches!

In 8 days, WWE presents what is widely referred to as its most brutal, unforgiving & punishing night of its calendar year. The one night of the year where rivalries are settled, blood is spilled (or teased, since we exist within a PG setting) & careers will be altered for the rest of time as superstars step inside ”The Devils Playground”, ”Satan’s Structure” or a variety of other nicknames to list off as they step inside Hell in a Cell.

For decades the cell has been positioned as the company’s most ominous structure, packed with violence, dread or a sense of brutality that is generally reserved for the most personal of feuds. The early days saw the likes of Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H & Mick Foley define the cell itself, while in later years WWE saw it a fitting opportunity to brand the structure itself into its very own PPV event starting in 2009, to a fairly mixed response. While the cell matches of the modern-day pale in comparison to the quality of its earlier renditions, Hell in a Cell is still an event the company tries to pour some form of personal stakes into for the sake of making this feel like more than just another show based on a popular gimmick (e.g. TLC, Money in the Bank, etc.)

But, much like any other event based on a gimmick, now is the time fans generally reminisce on what the past has offered them. Sometimes what the worst of a certain scenario has been, but in today’s case, the best of what has become one of the company’s most accomplished gimmicks amongst hardcore & mainstream fans alike.

So, in this list I’ll be listing the very best Hell in a Cell matches dating back to its 1997 inception at a time when the tides of the wrestling world were shifting in ways nobody saw coming. As always, this list does hold some form of personal bias since I’m the one deciding what goes in, but any & all comments are always welcome!

Honorable Mentions

The Undertaker vs Mankind – King of the Ring 1998

For the sake of historical purposes, no list discussing the most memorable moments in the history of the Hell in a Cell concept can be discussed without mentioning the now historic collision between The Undertaker & Mankind at 1998’s King of the Ring. It wasn’t just the match that has defined the career of either man involved, but one of the most iconic contests in the history of professional wrestling of its blatant violence, unpredictability, life threatening risks & some of the greatest calls to come out of the mouth of J.R. Jim Ross in the man’s entire career to this very day.

While this may very well be the most iconic match on this list to many, the reason it isn’t featured in my personal top 5, is because it simply wasn’t that much of a traditional ‘match’ in any real sense. In spite of the ludicrous punishment inflicted on Mick Foley’s most famous alter ego & the story this ended up telling to those watching in person or at home, there are certainly other matches I could name that work better as an all-around contest. I’d imagine this may rub some people the wrong way depending on your stance, but I think other contests deserve more recognition since we are talking about the very idea of a ‘match’ here, and not the moments the structure has brought us since its inception.

5. Kurt Angle vs Steve Austin vs The Rock vs The Undertaker vs Triple H vs Rikishi – Armageddon 2000

Arguably the greatest example of the WWE’s creative team basically taking all of its top talent from the late 2000’s, shoving them into the most violent structure they’d conjured up to that point & doing the equivalent of what 8-year old me used to do in my early days of watching wrestling, simply smash my action figures into one another for a good 30 minutes on end.

There was nothing pretty about the Hell in a Cell match that headlined 2000’s Armageddon but there was never meant to be anything pretty either, it was a car crash, a beautiful one nonetheless. Featuring Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, Triple H, Rikishi (in the midst of his hilarious heel turn), Undertaker & of course, The Rock, this match was insanity from bell to bell, never slowing down & always giving you something to drool over from an action standpoint. Every star had a moment to shine, every spot worked due to the chaotic energy of the live audience, the violence was as vicious as ever & this all told an incredible story of the never-say-die attitude of Kurt Angle at the time who was defending his WWE Championship. What’s most impressive is the matches ability to balance all the star power on hand, never leaving anyone, even Rikishi, to linger in the background with everything happen within the ring.

Even the storytelling from outside the cage was pitch perfect as Vince McMahon at one point attempted to do the unthinkable by quite literally pulling the cell down with the competitors within it, only to result in The Undertaker throwing Rikishi off of the cell in one of the most incredible spots the structure has ever witnessed. It was a once in a lifetime spectacle, the kind that can never be replicated again due to its timing in terms of the era it existed within, the star power on hand & just how unhinged an Attitude Era audience once regardless of what you fed them.

4. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker – No Mercy 2002

I’ll admit it, this one is a bit of a personal favourite of mine more than most people I’m aware of.

The Undertaker & Brock Lesnar have had matches I’ve always been a sucker for, from their tendency to simply maul each other onto the verge of death, beat each other’s bodies up into pulps or their incredible ability to tell a story in the ring through simply selling a body part, their matches have always been ones I tend to revisit on multiple occassions. So much of today’s wrestling is jam packed with flips, kicks, dives & endless sequences that it takes away from what wrestling is at its core, it’s a form of art that wouldn’t exist if you can’t tell an effective story to translate into your action between the ropes.

And that’s what Undertaker & Brock Lesnar did at the 2002 No Mercy event, tell an incredible story as the WWE Championship hung in the balance.

What happened in this contest wasn’t necessarily centred around the use of ”foreign objects” as so many other cell matches are, it was a good, old fashioned brawl within the confines of a steel structure between two titans. The match perfectly captured the nature of the old vs new guard, as Undertaker, a war-torn veteran was consistently one-upped by the far younger, more agile & more aggressive Brock Lesnar who targeted Undertaker’s ‘broken’ arm like a shark smelling blood in the water. Despite Hell in a Cell so frequently being referred to as a stipulation favouring violence before anything else, this was anything but that, with The Undertaker’s selling & emotion in particular being the standout element of an unforgiving contest that feels so much more brutal than most other cell matches.

It could be the selling, the story, the performance put on by Undertaker to ensure Brock Lesnar looked like the phenomenon he truly was, the simple violence relying solely on bodily punishment or the matches brutal pace, but there’s a quality this match holds that makes its brutality so much harder to watch than many of the other matches I rewatched before writing this. If you haven’t watched this overlooked gem of a contest, it’s an incredibly high recommendation from me.

3. Batista vs Triple H – Vengeance 2005

If your favourite Hell in a Cell matches are the ones focused on sheer brutality & sheer brutality alone, I’m not sure there are any out there more violent, sadistic & torturous as the war engaged between Triple H & Batista at Vengeance in 2005. This match served as the capping off of an intense feud which served to cement Batista as one of the biggest stars of his generation, culminating in his title victory at Wrestlemania 21, subsequent victory over ”The Game” a month later at Backlash and this final, decisive chapter in their months long feud within the WWE’s most brutal structure.

In terms of what Hell in a Cell represents within the context that WWE presents it, this is arguably the best example of it to the casual fan. Whether you look for blood, barbwire steel chairs, steel chains, sledgehammers, steel steps or an ungodly amount of punishment taken by Triple H to get his former protege over, this was Hell in a Cell down to a tee. Both men went into this looking strong & came out even strong, in particular Batista who lived up to his moniker of being deemed ”The Animal” perfectly, beating the life out of one of the company’s top guys at the time with everything he had.

Considering the in-ring ability of both men being more reliant on heavy blows or sudden bursts of offense, it’s no surprise that this match was the best in their series of matches by a longshot. Neither former Evolution stablemates are wrestlers who’ve put on ”mat classics”, but both went into this seeking a fight, and what we got was one of the best you can come across.

2. Triple H vs Mick Foley – No Way Out 2000

Just for the sake of context, to understand the shoes this match had to fill going into it is something that needs to be discussed. Besides carrying the infamous title of being a ”Career Threatening Match”, Triple H & Mick Foley had the insurmountable task of following up their 2000 Royal Rumble classic over the WWE Championship in Madison Square Garden just weeks prior to this bout, a match widely hailed as amongst the finest of either man’s professional careers. Their initial match was one packed with insane levels of brutality that many thought could never be topped, but nonetheless both Triple H & Mick Foley’s alter ego ‘Cactus Jack’ stepped into Hell in a Cell with a purpose in mind, steal the show.

And the two legends did just that, creating a match which was sadly undermined by the events that followed at Wrestlemania 2000 in regards to the character of Mick Foley, is still one of the finest Hell in a Cell matches to date just off the top of my head.

Not only did this serve as a jaw dropping final contest to a feud filled with insane degrees of violence, in a lot of ways this felt like the ultimate ‘swan song’ in the career of Mick Foley, at least within the confines of this very match. There were countless call-backs to Foley’s infamous dive off the cell back in 1998, use of classic weapons that helped define his career but also an attempt to up the ante by adding fire into the mix, as well as Foley making an already painful dive look all the more painful by basically plunging himself through the ring. Additionally, you had Jim Ross who continued his streak of adding to Mick Foley’s iconic moments with his ever-incredible calls on commentary & a rabid crowd that despite likely predicting the result, showed their love for the Hardcore Legend in spades.

Even though the intention & long-term impact of the matches stipulation wasn’t followed up effectively afterwards, greatly damaging its integrity in the long run, this was the kind of spectacle that makes the cell such an eventful environment for rivals to interact within, especially when it comes to capping off one of the annual blood feuds the company tends to put on. While my issues with it stem more from its follow-up as for the contest itself, it stands on its own as a fantastic match in every right.

1. Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker – Badd Blood 1997

Is it too generic to place this at the top of my list due to how done to death placing this match at this position is?


Good, because I couldn’t care less when a match is as beautifully booked as The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels inside Hell in a Cell takes place & doesn’t get all the recognition it so rightfully deserves.

This match is what a match placed at the top of any ”Best of” list should be, a standard-bearer, a trend setter, a game changer, a match packed with a plethora of iconic moments, cements the legacy of the stars involved & most importantly, leaves fans with more questions or curiosities going out than they had coming in. Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels accomplished everything I just listed, along with providing the iconic introduction of one of the generations most interesting characters in Kane alongside Paul Bearer at the matches’ end.

Even the action was unlike anything seen at the time, at least by the usual standards. Upping the violence generally seen by audiences up to that point from WWE, feeling like somewhat of an ushering in of the Attitude Era for some but also doubling down on the new, ‘edgier’ direction the product was seemingly going down at the start of the year with stars such as Steve Austin bringing in a new persona to the product. Simply revisiting this match today feels so much larger than you’d expect because of the historical significance this resembles, not just now but even back when it originally aired in 1997.

For being the boundary breaker that it is, for cementing itself as one of the most important matches in wrestling history & playing a significant role in ushering in the largest boom period the industry has ever seen, I can’t think of a single match more worthy of being at the top of this list than The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels.

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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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