Grappler’s Choice #5: WWE Wrestlemania – 03.04.16





This is the first time I’ve ever watched Wrestlemania live before, and It was absolutely incredible watching and reviewing these events as they were happening. I was involved in the Twitter action surrounding the event too, there were close to 2 million tweets about Wrestlemania at one point in the night, and everyone was excited, heavily critical and generally just buzzing. I really cannot recommend joining this discussion enough when WWE hosts its PPVs and TV shows, it’s a lot of fun!

Wrestlemania Kickoff Show

  • Kalisto vs Ryback (United States Championship Match)

Goldberg chants from the crowd straight away aha, brilliant!. The painful dialogue I spoke about in previous weeks (i.e. Big guy vs the little guy) was ever-present from Ryback, that was not enjoyable to watch in the slightest – we get it Ryback, you’re bigger than Kalisto…

I must say, this match worked out better than I expected. A great match of power vs athleticism. I get the feeling these two have worked hard together beforehand to create something special for Wrestlemania. Considering how drastically different there styles are, this match was working well. Kalisto displayed a tremendous amount of resiliency, a worthy champion despite the huge challenge presented to him. Ryback declares a ‘Wrestlemania moment’ to the fans and he does not disappoint. A huge suplex off the second rope which Kalisto reversed in spectacular fashion. Some great athletic moves from Kalisto throughout the match, with a particularly impressive corkscrew off the second rope at one point. I couldn’t believe that Kalisto pulled it off, but what a fantastic win, well deserved and it was a great way to start off Wrestlemania.

7/10 for this one. A good solid match to begin the showcase of the immortals.

On a side note, I’ve heard Flo Rida’s ‘My House’ so many times now because of the build up to Wrestlemania. It’s really grown on me! WWE made some great choices in terms of music for Mania this year!

  • Total Divas vs B.A.D & Blonde (10 women tag team match)

Great to see a huge women’s match at Wrestlemania. This division has so many fantastic competitors, and what better way to show that then in this massive tag team match. The Women’s division has some really inventive gimmicks at the moment too, Emma & Paige looked particularly cool in their ring attire.

Hilarious seeing the referee barely being able to keep up with the in-ring action. It’s particularly fast-paced, high-flying action and it’s a mixture of cruiserweight style moves, mixed with some powerful moves as well.

Natalya & Naomi worked very well in this match together. But Emma vs Paige really stuck out for me. Emma is absolutely brutal with her style. There are so many characters here to comment on. One particular standout moment was a aerial crossbody from Paige, taking out 4 competitors on the outside. Naomi has to be one of the best female wrestlers I’ve seen in the ring. She was absolutely incredible. Great at selling and her athleticism is at a very high level. An absolute joy to watch.

Naomi was the absolute standout competitor for me personally here, check out her matches – she’s extremely talented! (no wonder, as I learnt that she’s a member of the Anoaʻi family!)

This match overall was fantastic!

8/10 for this one!

Lita unveils the new ‘Women’s Championship’ immediately afterward and it looks absolutely incredible. Finally the ‘Diva’ name is dropped, and we are one step closer to this division getting the true attention and serious devotion from WWE that it deserves!

Take a look at the championship when you get the chance, it looks fantastic. It’s much more aesthetically pleasing compared with the previous championship. (See the professionalism section for my criticisms of this announcement.)

  • The Usos vs The Dudley Boyz

Dudley Boyz + Wrestlemania = Gold!

An unanimous chant from the crowd straight away ”We want tables” and I agree, it’s not the Dudley Boyz without tables being present!

Uncomfortable dialogue from Bubba Ray Dudley to the Usos ”Just like your father, just like we did to your father”, I sincerely wish Bubba Ray would quit this, it’s utterly painful to listen to. I really hoped we wouldn’t see it at Wrestlemania.

All in all, it was new vs old in  this match. Yet, The Dudley Boys have not weakened with age at all, they’re just as powerful and athletic as they ever were. This was a great match of power and athleticism between both teams. This did look a little like the passing of the torch so to speak. With the Usos looking as synchronised in terms of their tag team abilities, as the Dudleys Boyz have been during their wrestling career.

The Usos deserved the win but it looked like it signaled the end of the heel run for the Dudleys, as we see the return of the tables! The Dudley Boyz lose, they try to put the Usos through tables and finally get their comeuppance, with the Usos showing why they deserve respect from the Dudleys and the WWE Universe.

6/10 for this one, I wasn’t fully happy with the finish, but it was still a good match.


  • Ladder Match for The Intercontinental Championship (Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz vs Sami Zayn vs Stardust vs Sin Cara vs Zack Ryder vs Kevin Owens)

Kicking off with Ladders & Dolph Ziggler, it doesn’t get better than that! Everyone making the effort with their match attire for Wrestlemania. I’m glad they began the card with this match, it’s a fantastic way to start Wrestlemania.

A brilliant face off between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, getting a massive cheer from the fans. This is everything you’d expect from a WWE ladder match at Mania. High flying moves at every opportunity, wrestlers getting nailed with ladders and continual battles to the top of the ladder. Brilliant dialogue from Kevin Owens to Sami Zayn at one point ”Who do you think you are?, this is KOMania, go back to NXT”.

Sami Zayn creates a few Wrestlemania moments with a particularly brilliant aerial dive through the ladder and over the top ropes onto his rivals. Every competitor has a legitimate race to the top of the ladder it would seem. It was chaos at times, and that’s exactly what you expect from a Wrestlemania Ladder match. The crowd were absolutely loving it, they were gripped to this one, chanting ”this is awesome” throughout the match.

Dolph Ziggler paying homage to Shawn Michaels with a ‘sweet chin music’ was a great little touch, particularly since he sells it so well. Stardust’s personalised ladder was another fantastic moment in the match. Kevin Owens performed an incredible frog splash from the top rope onto Sami Zayn who was laying on a ladder at the time, it was sold to perfection and it looked like it genuinely hurt both men quite significantly.

Zack Ryder impressed immensely in this match, a worthy contender for the championship. Performing a fantastic elbow drop from the top of the ladder, as well as, taking a crushing slam from Ziggler. Sin Cara being pushed from the top of the ladder and landing onto Stardust – breaking the ladder in half – was an amazing moment.

I was so happy to see Zack Ryder win the championship, what a moment, an absolute underdog in this match finally getting his moment, his chance, on the grandest stage of them all!

WWE really got this match spot on.

10/10 for this one, a perfect match!

  • Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Fantastic new ring attire from AJ Styles for Wrestlemania. It’s always great to see a change in attire, it just freshens things up and makes way for new beginnings potentially.

A huge divide of chants in the crowd for both men despite Jericho’s recent heel turn. Jericho sells heel to perfection, even at Wrestlemania he makes it really believable. This was a complete grudge match, as you’d probably expect given their rivalry.

The match is an interesting match of the usual athletic, high flying moves you’d expect to see from these two, but with an interesting mix of technical and power moves added in as well. Some fantastic submission moves from both men, it’s great to see this added into the match. You don’t often see matches won this way anymore, so it’s refreshing to see something from the past performed in a convincing way. This was made even more exciting with countless near-fall pins, it was tough to tell who would pull off the win in this match. It was a deserved win from Jericho, but I really felt that AJ Styles should have picked up the win in this one, he looked like the stronger competitor throughout this match and it would have made more sense in their feud, many fans on Twitter claimed Jericho buried Styles here and I’m afraid I have to agree on that one. Nonetheless, a fantastic match and both men gave a great performance.These two are absolute veterans and this was a great match to watch.

I’ll give this one 7/10.

  • The New Day vs League Of Nations

”ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Wrestlemania”

They entered the ring in a giant box of ‘Booty Os’ dressed as characters from DragonBall Z, these guys are awesome!

This match should have been for the tag team titles or something. It’s a match we’ve seen before in various ways over the past month. Kofi Kingston pulled off some pretty awesome moves during the match , he’s always very entertaining to watch.

I can’t find much to comment on in this match If I’m honest. We’ve seen all these men fight continuously over the past month. Whilst there were some pretty impressive moves, I felt a little underwhelmed in comparison to the matches that preceded this match.

Well, The League Of Nations pick up the win finally (putting us at a 4/2 win/loss ratio between the two teams). I guess this did demonstrate some power from this team since they achieved this at Wrestlemania.

I’ll give this 5/10. The matches before were brilliant, and this simply wasn’t. But just when I thought this couldn’t be salvaged, out comes Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels & Mick Foley to save the day, absolutely destroying The New Day! This was absolutely fantastic, everything about this segment was great. So for the segment afterward I’ll give it 8/10, a classic Wrestlemania moment!

  • Brock Lesnar vs Dean Ambrose (No Holds Barred Street Fight)

I went into this match fearing for Ambrose’s health, it just looked like total annihilation from the get-go. Lesnar takes Ambrose straight to suplex city, demonstrating his power, strength and superiority. That being said, Ambrose was really taking the fight to Lesnar, launching an attack at him with a kendo stick. The crowd split was apparent in this match as well with a (lets go Ambrose!/Suplex City) chant being shouted.

Lesnar was daring Ambrose, taunting him, humiliating him and Ambrose turned the tables nonetheless, attacking Lesnar again with the Kendo stick. It was an interesting shift in the momentum/pace of the match. Suddenly it didn’t seem like Lesnar was going to outright destroy Ambrose in five minutes. The suplex chant kept increasing throughout the match, yet Ambrose just kept going, bringing all manner of foreign objects into the match. It was amazing, at one point Lesnar looked weak and vulnerable in comparison to Ambrose. This was the first time in their feud that this has happened.

There were legitimate near fall pins where Ambrose nearly pulled off a victory over Lesnar. The crowd were lapping us this bout, chanting ‘This is awesome’. Lesnar pulled off the win, not really a surprise but this was a huge fight between these two superstars. Many fans were saying that Lesnar buried Ambrose, but to be honest I couldn’t envision any other scenario. Have people forgotten that Lesnar broke the streak?

8/10 for this one. Good match, would have been great to see Ambrose win, but hey – you can’t have everything!

**Suplex count: 13**

  •  Triple Threat Match For The WWE Women’s Championship (Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks)

It was brilliant having Snoop Dogg singing her theme and escorting her to the ring. Sasha Banks already looked like our new champion with her entrance, and then Charlotte equally came out with an impressive entrance. Sasha Banks also paid homage to the late great Eddie Guerrero with her ring attire and a latino heat inspired move off the top rope, a nice touch.

Fantastic to see this so high on the card, a genuinely exciting match that WWE has really pushed, giving it to the attention it deserved.

As usual with the women’s division we see plenty of cruiserweight style moves. It was hard picking a winner going into this match and equally, during the match we’re no clearer as to who will come out on top. The added knowledge that these women were competing for the new women’s championship was definitely a bigger incentive for these competitors in terms of winning.

The crowd was in complete awe of this match, just as they are with the men’s matches. It really was a spectacle to watch, especially when we saw Sasha Banks pull off an incredible frog splash. Sasha did seem to take the spotlight in this match with some impressive high flying maneuvers throughout. Becky Lynch equally displayed an impressive high-flying display. Charlotte gives us a Wrestlemania moment with an incredible moonsault from the top rope onto the outside. All three women are fantastic technical wrestlers, displaying some brilliant submission moves, this was an enthralling match to watch.

On a side note, I was surprised to learn that this match was No-DQ rules. Michael Cole mentioned this in passing and it was something that hadn’t been announced before.

A fantastic match, but I was hoping Becky Lynch or Sasha Banks might pull off the win.

8/10 for this match, incredible match and one of the best women’s matches of all time for sure. One for the history books!

  • Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker (Hell In A Cell Match for control of Monday Night Raw)

This should be the main event really, but I guess the WWE title match has to be because it always has been. The match starts off as expected, a brawl style match with small bursts of energy from Shane O Mac.

An impressive submission maneuver from Shane O Mac puts Undertaker in a genuinely tough situation. We see The Undertaker deliver The Last Ride and a chokeslam onto the steel steps and yet it still isn’t enough to put away Shane. Shane performed a fantastic DDT off the steel steps, showing us the warrior spirit that he’s always had throughout the match. Wrestlemania 32 has seen all manner of submission maneuvers and this match is no exception – Undertaker performs the Hells Gate, Shane O Mac performs the sharpshooter. Each man has to win this match, they both need it desperately. The crowd split for a third time this evening (chanting Lets Go Taker/Shane O Mac!).

Shane O Mac performs the Coast to Coast once again at Wrestlemania, crushing The Undertaker with a garbage can. Undertaker shifts the momentum and launches Shane O Mac through the Cell.

Undertaker drives Shane O Mac through an announce table whilst under a submission move from Shane O Mac. This match is classic Undertaker, classic Hell In A Cell. Shane climes to the top of the 20 foot cell and takes a leap of faith, landing through the announce table as The Undertaker dodges the attack. Vintage Shane O Mac – A wrestlemania moment for sure!

The Undertaker wins as he should, but it’s a bittersweet victory. With our hope for Shane O Mac to gain control of Monday Night Raw in tatters.

10/10 for this match. Another page in Wrestlemania history, an absolute classic. Undertaker is 23-1 at Wrestlemania.

  • Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Surprising to see this so high on the card, I thought it might be a match to start Wrestlemania with. Absolutely incredible to see DDP in the match, what a fantastic surprise! Shaquille O’Neal joins the battle royal as another big surprise. A brilliant stand off between Big Show & Shaquille O’Neal, with both of them eliminating and scaring off the smaller competitors. It was hilarious seeing everyone jumping in and teaming up to eliminate Shaq & Big Show.

A great highlight seeing the social outcasts eliminated by Kane & Corbin. I was very impressed to see Corbin pull off the win, although it would have been nicer to see Mark Henry win in his home state. This does pave the way for NXT superstars though, and it will hopefully give Corbin a push.

7/10 for this one.

  • The Rock & John Cena vs The Wyatt Family Segment

The Rock’s entrance was very cool, reminiscent of Chyna’s Wrestlemania 17 entrance (with the pyro shooter). Great to see the Wyatt Family at Wrestlemania interrupting The Rock’s promo. It would have been even better to see them in a match, but in fairness Bray Wyatt’s mic skills are brilliant and it’s worth giving him time on the mic. Bray Wyatt’s apron was especially sinister and a great little touch to the overall gimmick. The Rock has his usual fun on the mic, teasing the Wyatts and having fun with the crowd.

I was not expecting this I’ll be honest, but here we go. The Rock goes one on one with Erick Rowan, defeating him in 6 seconds by pin fall in a legitimate match. John Cena returns to help The Rock against the Wyatt family. It was good segment, everything you’d expect it to be.

7/10 for this one, it was nice to see The Rock. I’m not personally a Cena fan, but it was nice to see him back too.

  • WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match (Triple H vs Roman Reigns)

Stephanie generates hype for Triple H very well, it’s a convincing promo. I don’t think they should have included this though. I think they should have just stuck to normal entrances for both men.

It’s a brilliant record, Triple H’s 20th wrestlemania event. I personally don’t feel like there can be a true winner in this match. If Roman Reigns wins, fans will be unhappy (myself included), if Triple H wins, the Authority continues and it gives fans equally annoying headaches with its promos. Both men got a decidedly cold reception whilst entering the ring. Reign’s entrance just didn’t create any kind of buzz with the fans, he hasn’t been booked properly (as i’ve said in previous posts in this blog) and this is just the culmination of all that. Fans don’t get what they want, they just get this disappointing main event.

During the match we hear the usual cheers every time Triple H throws Reigns around, the fans even cheer ‘Roman Sucks’. How much more evidence does WWE need?, 100,000 fans chanting that your future franchise player ‘sucks’ is not good for business.

This is brawl you’d expect to see from these two men. Some fairly interesting momentum here and there throughout the match. The crowd reactions toward Reigns were probably the most exciting part of the match if I’m honest.

There was some strong athleticism from Reigns at times, mostly it was a powerhouse display. Triple H opted to use submission moves in order to take care of Roman. Triple H’s style has changed a lot over the years, it’s not quite as fast-paced as it used to be. Triple H appears to be more technical and methodical with his style now.

Reigns spearing Stephanie McMahon by accident was a pretty brilliant moment. She sold that spear well, and it’s not often you see women taking attacks from men in WWE wrestling anymore.

I can’t give this anything more than 6/10. It was underwhelming and we were given the scenario that no one wanted. Roman Reigns walks out WWE champion….

Entertainment Score: 8/10



A weird awkward moment occurred during the kick-off show where Booker T & Corey Greaves had finished speaking and there was a few moments of dead silence before a cutaway to one of the wrestlemania theme songs. It’s a not big deal, but it was a little unusual.

My only concern with the unveiling of the new women’s championship at Wrestlemania is that it undermines Charlotte’s championship. Whilst Renee young commented on this saying that we shouldn’t discredit the previous championship, but still appreciate and be in awe of this new championship and change in the women’s division, it still unfortunately still undermines Charlotte, her championship and the division slightly. I’m very happy this change has occurred, however I believe it would have been more professional to unveil this on Monday Night Raw instead, handing the winning champion her new title.

WWE always nails Wrestlemania in my opinion. Regardless of how fans might feel about the outcomes of matches, the setup of the event, the amount of fans it draws to these venues and the buzz it creates with its performance is something really special.

Professionalism Score:  10/10


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