Monday, April 3, 2023

WWE Wrestlemania 39 Night Two

By Steve Ward

WWE’s 39th installment of the Showcase of the Immortals continued this evening from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA following a solid overall first night. While night one featured some WWE legends in action and entertaining bouts for the Smackdown Women’s and United States Championships, the star power is much more prevalent across the card for night two with names such as Brock Lesnar, Edge, and Roman Reigns showcased. This evening’s card featured seven matches, three title contests, and was headlined by Roman Reigns putting his 945-day title reign on the line against “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes.

Brock Lesnar vs. Omos w/ MVP
Winner: Brock Lesnar via pinfall

Tonight’s card kicked off with one of WWE’s biggest draws, Brock Lesnar, squaring off with the 7’3” Nigerian Giant, Omos. With no title bout for Lesnar this year, WWE decided to pair him up with the largest man in WWE - and one of the largest competitors ever. A dire situation appeared to be afoot for Lesnar to open this bout as he was manhandled by Omos. Lesnar capitalized on a window of opportunity that opened when he ducked out of the way of a charging Omos while in the corner. Lesnar’s evasion lead the Nigerian Giant to slam his head into the ring post. Lesnar then took the massive Omos to Suplex City and finished the massive giant off with an impressive F5.

Wrestlemania Showcase Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match
Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
Winners: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler via submission

Much like the men’s tag team showcase on night one, the women were featured tonight in an effort to give more of the roster exposure on the stage of Wrestlemania and the winners would put themselves in prime position for a future tag team title opportunity. In the closing moments of the match, Shayna Baszler made a blind tag on Liv Morgan and then Rousey tagged her partner to become the legal competitor in the match. Rousey and Baszler disposed of Morgan and then Rousey cinched in the armbar on Shotzi for the submission victory.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match
Gunther (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Winner: Gunther via pinfall

Gunther was forced to put his historic 296-day Intercontinental Title reign on the line against both Sheamus and McIntyre after the two men fought to a no contest in their match to determine the number one contender for tonight’s contest. Late in this incredibly hard-hitting affair, that left all three competitors with bruised and swollen pectorals, Sheamus appeared poised to earn the victory on McIntyre when Gunther flew from the top turnbuckle to break up the pinfall attempt. Gunther then hoisted Sheamus up and powerbombed him onto McIntyre and then powerbombed McIntyre as well to secure the pinfall victory.

WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Asuka vs. Bianca Belair (c)
Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

After Rhea Ripley elected to use her Royal Rumble victory to challenge Charlotte Flair for her Smackdown Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania, RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair was left without an opponent until the Empress of Tomorrow answered her challenge. Tonight, Belair would put her second longest ever RAW Women’s Championship reign on the line against the highly decorated Asuka on the grandest stage of them all. In the closing moments, Belair avoided the dreaded mist and was able to survive the armbar to deliver a KOD to solidify her title defense.

The Miz vs. Snoop Dogg
Winner: Snoop Dogg via pinfall

After The Miz and Snoop Dogg announced the attendance for Night Two, The Miz proceeded to reprimand Snoop for putting him in an impromptu match with Pat McAfee on Night One. Snoop then introduced Shane McMahon as the opponent for The Miz tonight. Shortly after the bell rang, Shane McMahon landed wrong as he leapfrogged a charging Miz and legitimately tore his quadricep. While the ringside doctor attended to McMahon, Snoop Dogg stepped up and dropped The Miz with a couple right hands and then delivered his version of The People’s Elbow to pin The Miz.

Hell In A Cell
Edge vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor
Winner: Edge via pinfall

In what should be the final chapter in the long, bitter rivalry between Edge and Finn Balor, they decided to do battle in the ominous Hell In A Cell tonight. At the end of this brawl, the confines of the cell was littered with chairs, kendo sticks, ladders, broken tables, and blood. Balor appeared to have the match in hand until Edge evaded his Coup de Grace attempt leaving him to crash through a table. Edge then speared The Demon and finished him off with the Conchairto to leave Wrestlemania victorious.

WWE Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Championship
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Cody Rhodes
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Cody Rhodes made his shocking return to WWE after leaving the company he helped to build, AEW, at last year’s Wrestlemania but was derailed shortly after with a torn pectoral muscle that put him on the shelf for over six months. Rhodes then made his triumphant return at this year’s Royal Rumble as entrant number 30 and prevailed to punch his ticket to the main event tonight against Roman Reigns. The real question would be whether WWE would elect to end Roman Reigns’ title reign short of 1,000 days. Following a hard-hitting affair where each competitor emptied their arsenals, the difference proved to be Solo Sikoa. Roman’s title reign appeared to be in serious jeopardy late after Rhodes built momentum following interference from both The Usos and the new tag team champions, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Rhodes executed back-to-back Cross Rhodes and was about to try and put away The Tribal Chief with a third when Paul Heyman climbed up to the ring apron to draw the referee’s attention. With Dan Engler distracted, Solo Sikoa snuck into the ring and delivered a Samoan Spike to the neck of Rhodes. This gave the defending champ the opportunity he needed to put away The American Nightmare with a body-crumbling spear to continue his historic title run.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

WWE Wrestlemania 39 Night One

World Wrestling Entertainment elected to go for the mega cash grab business model again for this year’s Showcase of the Immortals once again as they would emanate two nights in a row from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California - likely because they no longer generate revenue from pay-per-view buys and sold off the WWE Network to Peacock. Nonetheless, what would typically be a five to six hour mega event has now been split into two shows. Night One would feature eight matches with three titles contested and the main event pit The Usos against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.

United States Championship
John Cena vs. Austin Theory (c)
Winner: Austin Theory via pinfall

The show surprisingly kicked off with the return of John Cena to a WWE ring following another prolonged absence as he answered the challenge of the brash Austin Theory. Cena made a solid showing in the ring with little evidence of ring rust, however, Theory prevailed in the end. Cena had Theory on his shoulders and inadvertently knocked the referee out. Cena proceeded to cinch in the STF prompting a tapout from Theory to no avail as the referee had still not recovered. As Cena attempted to revive the referee, Theory struck him with a low blow followed by the A-Town Down to retain his championship.

Wrestlemania Showcase Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match
Ricochet & Braun Strowman vs. The Viking Raiders w/ Valhalla vs. Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
Winners: The Street Profits via pinfall

This match not only allowed WWE to fit more Superstars onto the card but also would serve to designate who the next team in line for a tag team title opportunity would be. In the closing moments, Ricochet attempted the Shooting Star Press only to land on Angelo Dawkins’ raised knees and Montez Ford proceeded to dive from the top turnbuckle to drive Ricochet’s face into Dawkins’ knees again setting up the pinfall.

Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

Logan Paul first eliminated Seth Rollins from the Royal Rumble Match, then cost him a victory in the Elimination Chamber, and has trolled him endlessly culminating in their encounter tonight at Wrestlemania. Seth Rollins withstood outside interference from KSI, the GTS, and a frog splash to turn around and hit the curb stomp to pull out the victory.

Becky Lynch, Lita, & Trish Stratus vs. Damage Ctrl (Bayley, Io Sky, & Dakota Kai)
Winners: Becky Lynch, Lita, & Trish Stratus via pinfall 

Following their shocking victory over Io Sky and Dakota Kai to claim the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles several weeks ago with the backing of Trish Stratus, a bitter rivalry has continued to fester leading us to tonight’s encounter. The crowd seemed disinterested in this match during the early going but in the closing moments they would become much more engaged as Lita executed a Litasault from the top turnbuckle and then Becky Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam from the second rope on Bayley to claim the pinfall victory for her team.

Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

After he abandoned his father to join The Judgement Day, Dominik Mysterio has continued to try everything in his power to goad his father into a match at Wrestlemania. Rey continuously rejected his son’s attempts until Dominik disrespected his mother at ringside recently on Smackdown. That leads us to their confrontation tonight following Rey’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame last night in Los Angeles. Rey appeared to be in dire straits with the appearance of The Judgment Day at ringside but The Legado del Fantasma and Spanish announce table guest commentator Bad Bunny evened the odds. In the end, Rey hit the 619 and immediately followed up with the frog splash to seal the victory over his son.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
Winner: Rhea Ripley via pinfall

Following her victory in the Women’s Royal Rumble match, Rhea Ripley elected to challenge Charlottle Flair in an attempt to avenge her Wrestlemania loss in 2020. Neither of these competitors left anything in the ring as each exhausted their entire arsenals but in the end, Ripley executed the Riptide from the turnbuckle to finally put away Charlotte Flair to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion.

The Miz vs. Pat McAfee
Winner: Pat McAfee via pinfall

The hosts of Wrestlemania, The Miz and Snoop Dogg, made their way to the ring to announce the attendance and The Miz proceeded to claim he made an open challenge that no one responded to. Pat McAfee then surprised the crowd to accept. With an assist from San Francisco 49er George Kittle, McAfee finished The Miz off with a punt to the head to claim victory.

WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn via pinfall

Following his dismissal from The Bloodline, Sami Zayn pled with Kevin Owens for weeks to team with him to gain revenge on The Bloodline finally wearing him down and bringing us to tonight’s contest for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship. In the closing moments of the match, Sami Zayn gained retribution on Jey Uso and The Bloodline as he executed three consecutive Helluva Kicks to allow him to cover Uso for the pinfall as new Undisputed Tag Team Champions were crowned.