With another night of WrestleMania upon the biggest question for night two is… how can we possibly top the phenomenon that was the Boneyard match we saw last night? Well with a Firefly Fun House match, the last man standing match and 4 title matches tonight, the Sunday card will do their best. That being said let’s dive into this review.
Kickoff Match: Natayla vs. Liv Morgan
This match…. did absolutely nothing for me. It’s great to see Liv Morgan getting more and more singles exposure over the past couple of months however Natayla is just such a random opponent for her. You were quietly building up a feud between Liv and a returning Ruby Riot and that seemed to get axed. As far as the match went, it was your typical run of the mill match you could have seen on Raw with a predictable ending of the two trying to win via roll-up. The only silver lining is that Liv gets a win at Wrestlemania and that WWE seems to be really invested in her down the line.
Match Time: 6:25
Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair: NXT Women’s Title
Night 2 of WrestleMania starts off with a bomb with the NXT women’s title match between Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley. When Charlotte won the rumble we all thought we were going to get another chapter of Charlotte & Becky Lynch, however when Ripley came to Raw goated Flair to challenging her for her title at Mania giving the fans a breath of fresh air that isn’t a 4 Horsewomen dominant title match. Regardless of the result, having the NXT women’s title defended at mania is such a huge milestone to bring credibility and prestige to the title. If Ripley retains then she gets the biggest title win of her very young career and goes back to NXT and makes whoever is next in line to beat her give them a great rub. If Charlotte wins, it gives NXT a new slate of matches to do with Flair as champion.
The one thing I do like about the no crowd is that we can hear loud and clear the talk trash between the opponents and Flair and Ripley had plenty of it. We also hear the pain that Ripley expresses whenever Ripley’s left knee was targeted. Ripley did a great job selling the bad knee and Charlotte showed great ring psychology viciously going after. The was a never a dull moment in this hard-hitting opening match. It almost makes you forget that it isn’t a fan in attendance.
Charlotte ends up winning the match with her Figure 8 submission move and becomes a 2-time women’s champion. Rhea showed that she is ready for bigger and better even in defeat and for Charlotte? This is definitely to me is the best match WrestleMania match of her career. Does this mean we get Flair vs. Bel Air? Shirai? Nox? Yim? This is the new fuel that the NXT Women’s division engine needed & solidify that NXT Brand is a legit 3rd brand instead of developmental.
Match Time: 20:30
Aleister Black vs. Lashley
This match was random for a WrestleMania however I’m down for the first time ever match. I just wish when WWE decides to make matches like this for Wrestlemania make an incentive like a #1 contender’s match. These two are a good pair. Lashley can showcase his raw power, Black can use his stiff strikes on the biggest opponent. The only knocks were 1) the match was short and 2) we didn’t have the crowd to drown out Lana’s yelling and 3) once again this felt like a match that should be on Raw, not Mania. Lashley was about to hit the dominator finisher before Lana told him to hit him with the spear. It backfired and Lashley was hit with a Black Mass kick and Black gets his first Wrestlemania win and the wedge between Lashley and Lana continues.
Match Time: 7:20
Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
I’m not gonna lie, I’m 100% invested into this Otis/Mandy Rose love story. When Otis came to the restaurant and saw Mandy & Dolph together, I felt for Otis. Otis is all of us trying to shoot our shots to that woman that we think is out of our league but we still take a chance at. This storyline has help Otis get over with the crowd in a big way. I was at Elimination Chamber and the entire crowd was chanting for Otis.
The match wasn’t WrestleMania caliber but not all matches need to be. It’s about the moments and the biggest moment was Mandy Rose coming out attacking Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler to help Otis get the biggest solo win of his career. Not a big enough moment for you?
How about after the match Mandy gets sweep off her feet by Otis and shared a kiss which would have definitely gotten the pop of the night. A storyline that was built since December, you added layers and elements to it so it wouldn’t get stale and got a proper payoff in the end at WrestleMania. This was perfectly booked.
Match Time: 8:15
Edge vs. Randy Orton: Last Man Standing Match
When Edge came back at the Royal Rumble, I thought the tease was going to be Styles vs. Edge. However, the curveball was thrown on the Monday after when Orton tried to end his career setting up their match for Mania. This is definitely the best heelwork of Randy Orton’s career and we wanted Edge to come back for so long a compete so this is the best of both worlds. The build-up, the raw emotion in their promos and their chemistry made this to be the best match of the weekend.
The match started off in typical Randy Orton fashion…an RKO out of nowhere. Then another one. Then Orton began the dominate the entire match. The match then took place in the gym area of the performance center where Edge regained the advantage. This match used every aspect of the performance center was needed for a match like this. It felt like the backstage brawl match in WWE 2K game…except less glitchy. The use of backstage props being slammed to their heads and the weapons being used made this match feel real and tied up nicely to the “Grit” angle that Edges has been using to tell his comeback story.
Orton DDTing Edge on the back of the Ford pickup made me cringe because of neck injury history. The match ended with Edge hitting Orton with a Conchairto. But before he did you can feel the conflict and reluctance in Edge’s eyes. Subtle things like that do a great job of telling the story of the match. The raw feeling, the eerie feeling of the match especially with no crowd made this a great match. Edge is back and Orton was the perfect opponent to help with his comeback story.
Match Time: 36:35
Street Profits vs. Austin Theory & Angel Garza: Raw Tag Titles
Another match where the original match had to change due to circumstances. Andrade out Austin Theory in. The Street Profits are very entertaining and seeing them get to this point after everyone was so worried about them getting lost in the shuffle in raw. However, the Street Profits are a team that needs to feed off a crowd.
The Street Profits win a decent match. Theory, Garza and Vega would attack the Street Profits after the match until Bianca Bel Air makes the save and help even the odds for Dawkins and her husband Montez Ford. Looks like unofficially the EST of NXT will be getting that call up which gives the Raw’s women’s division a much-needed boost.
Match time: 6:20
Fatal 5 Way: Smackdown Women’s Championship
The biggest talking point of this match is how will Bayley and Sasha Banks’ friendship hold up when the title is on the line? Sasha played it coy in her interview with Kayla saying “I guess we’ll see.” Also, the camera angle when Bayley came to the ring with doubt in her eyes and Sasha in the background. In a multi-person match, all parties involved will get a good chunk of time to showcase themselves and they did.
Tamina posed as the biggest threat physical so she was the first to go in a 4 person onslaught by the rest of the field. Naomi was eliminated 2nd by the double team affairs of Sasha and Bayley. When it came down to Sasha Bayley and Lacey Evans, you began to see the cracks in the Sasha/Bayley foundation. Lacey would then eliminate Sasha Banks with a Women’s Right hand due to a miscommunication and it came down Bayley and Lacey for the final two.
Sasha would then would come back and give Lacey Evans a backstabber which gave Bayley the much-needed assistance to retain the title. We all know down the line Sasha and Bayley will collide for the title. The question is when will trigger get pulled and we will get that feud that put NXT women’s division on the map?
Match Time: 19:20
John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt: Firefly Fun House Match
The rematch six years in the making between Bray Wyatt and John Cena is on the horizon. After Saturday’s spectacle which is the Boneyard match, I don’t know what to expect from this Firefly Fun House match. I will suspend my disbelief for this match.
My God…. this is absolutely amazing. As a John Cena fan, the nostalgia trip seeing the old Smackdown Fist, Cena’s prototype gear, the old Saturday Night’s Main event titantron the Dr. of Thugonomics was great to see. This wouldn’t have worked with a live audience so that’s why it was such a great segment. Bray using the opening of the Bella Twins theme was a nice touch to make fun of Cena without being super in your face.
That’s what made this segment great. It was over the top without being in your face. Bray showing how stupid Cena’s old gimmicks without a crowd was funny (and kinda stings since I loved this as a 10-year kid).
The WCW Nitro homage, the callback to the “Eater of Worlds” gimmick and how that Wrestlemania match was the downslide that Bray couldn’t recover and the segment ending with Bray’s transformation to the Fiend and putting down Cena with the audio saying how Cena was going to end Bray once and for all was a nice touch to end the segment.
Bray got his Wrestlemania moment with finally defeating John Cena and Cena continued his pledge to help pass the torch to the future of the WWE. Seriously whoever produced this deserves a raise. If these kinds of segments are to come then sign me up. Also… does this mean are we finally going to get Hollywood Cena?
Match Time: 13:00
Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntrye: WWE Title Match
McIntrye’s road to WrestleMania is much different than the one Seth Rollins has last year. Rollins was billed as an underdog going against the man who has dominated the Raw roster & held the Universal Title hostage for almost a year. McIntrye eliminated Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. McIntrye was build up as a tank. Someone who can match Lesnar in the high impact move department with his Claymore finisher.
Another Lesnar match at Mania follows the same formula. Both competitors start the matches with unlimited finishers and it became a war of who can connect with their finishers the most to win. The winner was Drew McIntrye with 4 Claymore Kicks to Lesnar’s 3 F5s. Drew finally gets his moment and becomes the face of the company and Lesnar does the job to help another young talent get over.
Match Time: 4:28
Given the circumstances that WWE had to work with, WWE knocked it out of the park in night 2. The opening match set the tone for the rest of the evening which was great. Rhea and Charlotte were great, Edge and Orton was a brutal match in a good way. McIntrye and Lesnar did the job to get the belt on a full-time talent.
Finally, the Firefly Fun House Match wasn’t a match. It was a long produced segment that showed why Cena is the bad guy in Bray’s world which was an interesting take to see. In the end, this Mania was great and it gave a lot of young talent the rub who need it. I’ll give night 2 the grade it deserves an A. Edge is back, We got a new season of Sons of Anarchy(Boneyard Match) and American Horror Story (Firefly Fun House Match), Otis got the girl and McIntrye is the top guy on Raw. Thank you, Vince, for giving us this when we needed it the most.