It’s WrestleMania weekend, although you might not know it. No floods of indies taking place, no hoards of fans in the host city, no stadium.
Instead WrestleMania 36 is set to be the most bizarre WrestleMania yet. It’s going to be taking place over 2 nights from the WWE performance center with no fans. And most of the matches have been pretaped. The WWE have done well to avoid spoilers leaking, which will at least make it enjoyable to watch from that perspective.
The tagline ‘the only WrestleMania too big for one night’ is a blatant lie. Last year the Showcase of the Immortals went on for roughly 7 1/2 hours, and it showed with the crowd being dead by the end of it.
Having the biggest Wrestling event of the year over two nights is welcome. It worked for Wrestle Kingdom (New Japan Pros biggest event). If it was taking place in a stadium it would have a real festival feel to it. Hopefully the higher-ups consider the same format for next year, and hopefully there will be fans.
World Title Matches
There are 5 World Title matches on the card, with the men’s NXT World Championship being the only big belt not being defended. This is likely due to the fact there was originally an NXT TakeOver scheduled for this weekend before the Global Pandemic.
Drew McIntyre won the Men’s Royal Rumble and will take on WWE Championship Brock Lesnar. The build has been good with McIntyre looking like an absolute star. Brock Lesnar doesn’t need to be build anymore, he has had a lot in the bank since ending the Undertakers streak at WrestleMania 30. A McIntyre win is a must to turn him into the next big star. He’s been organically over since returning to WWE. Lesnar is a star attraction, but isn’t around enough to hold the WWE Championship any longer.
Charlotte Flair won the Women’s Royal Rumble and is set to go after NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. This is the first time an NXT Championship will be defended at WrestleMania. It’s an odd situation, as it may be too soon for Ripley to go over here, but Flair does not need the win. They could be looking to give Flair the title in hopes of getting more eyes on NXT, but that would do a lot of damage to Ripley who has been built well. Perhaps Ripley will drop the belt here and win it back at the next TakeOver.
Goldberg is the Universal Champion, and was originally scheduled to take on Roman Reigns. However due to health concerns revolving around Roman’s immune system after his legitimate battle with Leukemia, he pulled out of the match. Braun Strowman takes his place. There has been absolutely no build, despite it being rumored for a few weeks that Reigns wouldn’t be in the match. It was just announced that Braun would be in the match. Nobody confronted anybody, nobody called anybody out. It was just thrown together. Strowman has come close to winning the Universal title a few times, and probably should have held the title by now. One thing we know, it’s a Goldberg match so it’ll be quick.
Becky Lynch was the biggest story of last years WrestleMania. The Irish woman became the first ever woman to win in the main event of the years biggest show. She defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Shana Baszler. Baszler is the only two time NXT Women’s Champion. It would have made sense for Baszler to win the Royal Rumble, but instead she came out the next night and bit (yes, bit) Lynch, and then one an elimination chamber match. It should be a good match, possibly hampered by there being no crowd, but it’s been a messy build. Signs point to Shayna taking the title eventually, but they could wait until there are people in attendance.
The final world title match is for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Bayley defends against Lacey Evans, Naomi, Tamina, and Sasha Banks. Originally Dana Brooke was in the match but pulled out. It’s pretty thrown together but has been built reasonably well. It looks like a step toward Bayley v Sasha Banks in a singles match.
Other Title Matches
There are three sets of tag title on the line.
The Smackdown tag team championships are still scheduled to be defended in a triple threat ladder match, despite reports that one half of the champions, the Miz, has pulled out. A Ladder match involving Miz & Morrison, the New Day, and the Usos should be exciting and full of good spots. Hopefully it goes ahead.
The Raw tag team championships are the line as the Street Profits defend against Angel Garza and Austin Theory. Originally it was Garza and US champion Andrade, however the latter was injured. It should be exciting, but the lack of a crowd may make it seem less so.
The Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the line, as champions the Kabuki Warriors defend against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. The women’s tag titles have been book atrociously for the past year, and have been very much an after thought.
The other title match is Same Zayn v Daniel Bryan for the Intercontinental Championship. This doesn’t need much introduction, hopefully it gets time because it should be a classic.
Shooting On Location
Two matches are being shot on location reportedly.
There’s a BoneYard match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles. I have no idea what this is.
The other is a Firefly Fun House match between the Fiend and John Cena. This will be wacky.
This time It’s Personal
Edge returned at the Royal Rumble, ad has since been locked in a personal feud with former tag team partner Randy Orton. This is one feud that hasn’t been hindered by having no crowd. The promos have been great, and it should be a brutal Last Man Standing Match.
Kevin Owens takes on Seth Rollins. The recent build has been good, but in reality it’s a match that’s surplus to requirements, and could do with a stipulation.
Otis v Dolph Ziggler is a soap opera feud that should be fun. Otis is very much over. Don’t expect anybody to whisper “I’m sorry I love you”.
There are two other thrown together matches. Elias takes on Baron Corbin in what should surely be a segment and not a match.
Aleister Black v Bobby Lashley was announced a few weeks ago. I don’t think either of these two have even been in the same ring in the past few months.
WrestleMania 36 will be interesting, strange, and may well go down in history for the wrong reasons.
We were joined by the Couch Pundit Neil Keego to look back at some all time great WrestleMania matches and moments on our wrestling podcast You Can’t Fake Gravity. You can listen on PodBean here, or on Spotify below. Or you can search Post to Post Sport on most podcast platforms.
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