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News From Cook’s Corner 11.8.21: Release

Cook touches on some of the bigger stories lately, a passing of classic wrestler and Twitter drama! Check it out!



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! It’s pretty amazing…I take a week off from this nonsense and everything just piles up! You got WWE releasing people, ROH releasing their entire roster, AEW folks taking time off…if this was the old days when sports printed transactions in their own section, you could have a whole page dedicated to wrestling transactions this week. Do sports pages still do that? I haven’t actually looked at one in years because I’m one of those dang millennials.

Since football didn’t happen over the weekend, we can skip right to the wrestling news & information you need to get through your day.

A Quarterly Tradition Unlike Any Other

WWE released their quarterly financial report last week and had their conference call to talk about how great everything was going. Let there be no doubt that things are going great for WWE financially. We online experts tend to focus on the merit of the product that the company produces. What nobody can deny is the fact that WWE knows how to make money.

What also can’t be denied is a trend that’s developed recently. Here’s how it goes: WWE releases their financial report & has a conference call where they talk about how much money they’re making and all the fun projects they have planned going forward. Shortly after that, we find out who’s getting released from the talent roster. This time, eighteen names were released into the ether, many of who were featured in NXT over the past couple of years. John Laurinaitas informed the roster that these were “budget cuts”, while sources told the Kellers, Sapps & Satins of the world all of the bad things about the people that got released.

Keith Lee, for example, had “attitude issues”. You know, I can’t imagine why Keith Lee might not have been the happiest camper over the past year or so. Maybe having serious health problems, being told to change your wrestling style because it’s not what the boss wants, and constantly having your presentation changed from week to week weighs on a person? For what it’s worth, Lee was just out here a week or two kissing Vince McMahon’s backside & talking about how neat it was having Vince be so involved in developing the “Bearcat” persona. But yeah, “attitude issues”, sure, ok whatever. Reports magically came out about Karrion Kross’s “backstage heat” as well. How about that? Again, shocking to believe that somebody presented the way Kross was from the moment he made the move to Raw wouldn’t be all sunshine & butterflies. Mia Yim & Scarlett were both released as well, to make sure everybody in their households were on the same page.

Both Lee & Kross were the victim of a poor transition from NXT to Raw. We’ve seen the changes to NXT lately, and hopefully for the new talents being brought in, one of the changes that will become evident in the future is a smoother transition from NXT to the main roster. However, if the treatment of B-Fab is any indication, where she was called up to SmackDown with Hit Row, reportedly signed a new contract, and was released in near-record time, it might not be wise to expect such a thing.

Perhaps the most surprising of the releases was Nia Jax. We’ve written about many of the issues surrounding her over the years, but assumed she was untouchable due to her familial connection with The Rock & Roman Reigns. Nia had been on a leave of absence to take care of her mental health, and had requested to extend that leave prior to her release. Pretty harsh.

Other notable releases included Franky Monet, Ember Moon, Oney Lorcan, Gran Metallik, Lince Dorado, Harry Smith & Eva Marie. Eva had taken time off to do a movie, unfortunately her second run with WWE wasn’t nearly as fruitful as her first.

There had been a report that the releases had something to do with the vaccination status of the wrestlers. Some of the wrestlers involved have refuted this claim, and given that the company is still owned by the McMahon family, I tend to dismiss the idea without much thought.

This is going to be a pretty regular thing. Dave Meltzer reported that most of the new talent (minus the top prospects) will be signed to sixty-day trial contracts to see how things go. It’s a different approach from what WWE did for most of the last decade, holding on to talent as long as they possibly could. It’s an overall shift from experienced pro wrestlers to hopeful stars. We’ll have to wait & see how it goes. In the meantime, WWE’s just added to the glut on the pro wrestling free agent wire.

Ring of Hiatus

ROH’s Final Battle event will be the last the company undertakes, at least until April 2022. Talent is being relased from their contracts at the end of the year, and they can start working for other promotions before Final Battle. The idea is to make changes to the business operations, come up with a new mission, strategy & presentation, and bring ROH back with live events starting on WrestleMania weekend with freelance talent.

Given Sinclair Broadcast Group’s recent problems (a ransomware attack stealing data and causing disruption to many of their stations, regional sports networks not providing the revenue hoped for, millions of dollars of debt), it’s easy to understand why their professional wrestling operation is being put on the backburner. Sinclair did right by ROH employees throughout 2020-21, keeping them on the payroll through the heaviest part of the pandemic & running shows in the safest manner possible. Unfortunately, these things didn’t lead to revenue, or a considerable amount of interest from wrestling fans.

I’ve been reviewing ROH’s weekly broadcast for 411mania, and while I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I’ve seen, there is a certain lack of energy without a live audience of some sort. The wrestlers really try. It just isn’t the same, as was noted when WWE & Impact Wrestling did their shows with no audience. I’ve also noticed that the comment section isn’t quite as active as it is for most of the TV recaps, and that can’t just be because the 411mania readers hate me. Granted, that’s part of it, but it isn’t the whole story.

Joe Koff, COO of ROH, swears that the company will be back. He has to do that, and I’m sure he believes what he’s saying. I can’t help but be skeptical, considering Sinclair’s financial issues & the general landscape. Sinclair stations already made a deal with the Women of Wrestling re-launch, so it’d be real easy to stick those shows in the ROH timeslots. Hope I’m wrong, as I would prefer there to be as many viable wrestling companies as possible, and many of my best wrestling memories involve Ring of Honor. Even if Sinclair’s Ring of Honor is different than the ROH of the 2000s in many ways, it’s still three letters that I have something of a connection with.

What can I say? I’m a wrestling romantic.

As for the talent involved, all we can hope is that they find good working situations. WWE would be much more of an option if Paul Levesque was still running NXT. He had a thing for signing ROH kids. Since he isn’t signing people anymore, I don’t see most of these people landing there. AEW probably has their eyes on some folks, as does Impact Wrestling. (A pity Danhausen is on the injured list, as he’d fit Impact’s television show like a glove.) Game Changer Wrestling has already started using some of ROH’s top talent like the Briscoes & Jonathan Gresham. PWG has been using ROH wrestlers for its entire existence and I doubt that’ll change. Then there’s some guys with NJPW deals that will keep working those Strong shows.

As for the video library, there’s been varying reports on it, but it doesn’t appear to be for sale at this time. They’ll probably be using the heck out of it for at least the next few months.

Not the Jon Moxley news I expected to be touching on.

Jon Moxley Bloodsport GCW Josh Barnett

Jon Moxley had a pretty big week planned. His autobiography was released, he was starting the process of moving back home to Cincinnati, along with his usual AEW responsibilities. Instead, he entered an inpatient alcohol treatment program, and will be out of action until further notice. From a purely business perspective, this takes one of AEW’s top draws off of the roster at a time where people are already making note of television ratings & other metrics that may or may not be trending in AEW’s favor. One can wonder how the lack of Mox will affect things.

From a more human perspective, which I try to present here from time to time in spite of my inability to function as a normal human, one hopes that Moxley is able to defeat his demons & become the type of person he wants to be. That’s all one can hope for here, as a happy & healthy Jon Moxley is a great thing for professional wrestling. What Moxley is battling is certainly something I can relate to, and I wish him the best.

We Are Here For Trolls Getting Owned.

Mike Tyson had one of the most accurate quotes of recent memory when he stated the following: “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it”. Can anybody argue against this? Shit-talking clowns have always been a part of life, one look at some of the letters Hank Aaron got while chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record will tell you that. Social media has given these people a wider platform to display their idiocy. It’s never been easier to put public figures on blast, and more & more of these delinquents seem to think that there shouldn’t be consequences for their actions.

It’s about time some of these people got what they had coming to them, am I right? Ulysses Diaz, bare knuckle boxer/MMA fighter/fiance of Dana Brooke, got arrested this week for something that I would claim is anything but a crime: showing up at an Internet troll’s house and punching him in the mouth. Dude went all Jay & Silent Bob on this fool.

Unfortunately we don’t have any details on what this troll said, whether he was going after Diaz himself or his fiance. I’ve seen some people write some vile things about Dana Brooke & her wrestling ability, and I wouldn’t blame Diaz for punching them in the face either. Fuck around & find out, as the kids say.

Then there’s Lince Dorado and one of the folks that regularly attend NXT shows. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Izzy, in fact, I’m sure most of you are more familiar with her than I am. She was a big fan of Bayley, dressing up like her at most NXT events during that time period. Turns out now she’s trying to get into the business, and her parents are very supportive of the endeavor. Some people are a bit weirded out by it, since America isn’t one of those places where pro wrestlers start at a very young age. You won’t see any Ice Ribbbon-type promotions featuring pre-teenage girls here. Different sensibilities for different cultures.

Izzy wanted to start young though, and her parents are all about it. She’s found people willing to work with her and has done some things for public consumption. A clip online of her taking a chokeslam a couple of years back when she wasn’t in high school yet drew a ton of online criticism from folks in the business. Her parents were very active online and had those rabbit ears where they heard everybody that had anything to say about what their daughter was up to. They’ve done what they can to get at those folks, including the good kids of MSK, who get booed at NXT shows by Izzy’s parents and their friends. Lince was another critic of Izzy’s, and her mom & dad took a particular delight in his being released on Friday.

Lince’s response was to invite Izzy’s dad to meet him in person to continue their discussion. This led to Izzy’s dad posting an apology, as even though he might be a jerkoff, he also knows that pretty much any wrestler with any kind of training could wipe the floor with him. As it turned out, Dorado had entered a Brazilian ju-jitsu tournament, which he won, and planned on dealing with Izzy’s dad afterwards.

It’s a shame Lince Dorado never got to do anything this interesting on television. I’m more invested in him now than I ever have been. As for Izzy’s dad, for the sake of his daughter’s future in the wrestling business I hope he stays far away from social media. He also might want to stay away from NXT shows, in case those MSK kids get any ideas from Lince Dorado or Ulysses Diaz. I don’t know if they’re as legitimate as those guys, but they could probably handle Izzy’s dad.


We close by noting the passing of Angelo Mosca at the age of 84. Mosca was one of many in his era that made the transition from football to wrestling. He was known as the meanest player in the Canadian Football League, spending most of his Hall of Fame career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Eddie Quinn, promoter of the Montreal territory, brought him into wrestling during his football career, and he would wrestle during the off-season because people did that back then.

Mosca was typically a heel during his career, including during a stint with the WWF in the early 1980s where he would regularly challenge Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship or Pedro Morales for the Intercontinental Championship. He also feuded with Pat Patterson after Patterson insulted him while working as a commentator.

While Mosca didn’t win any gold in the WWF, he was a title holder pretty much everywhere else he went. Mosca held championships in the AWA, San Francisco, Florida, Georgia, Toronto, Mid-Atlantic, Stampede & Puerto Rico. As wrestlers & football players found out over the years, King Kong wasn’t one to be trifled with.

That’s all for now! Looks like we’ll have some AEW Full Gear Gambling Picks to make this week in addition to the usual NFL shenanigans. Until next time, 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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