The WWE is largely a terrible show these days with a fan base feverishly awaiting the death, or at least removal from any decision-making, of Vince McMahon. That being said, there are few entertainment experiences that can provide the thrill that wrestling does when its combination of theater, reality television, and circus stunts come together perfectly. And these things almost always come together perfectly many times during the WWE’s biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania. This year’s Wrestlemania, the thirty-second, is an interesting one because the WWE is dealing with an unprecedented number of injuries to its biggest stars, including Seth Rollins and John Cena. This has forced the company to retool many of its biggest storylines heading into the show, pushing smaller fan-favorites into big matches and it has especially allowed the excellent women’s division to flourish with more time to work. Here’s a quick rundown of all the matches:
The Usos vs The Dudleys
A good tip for wrestling: never ever ever watch a preshow. That’s how you end up watching a match featuring Dwayne Johnson’s much less talented cousins fighting a couple of old, out-of-shape guys who yell about tables a lot.
10-Women Tag-Team Match
You know how I was talking about the excellent women’s division? Well unfortunately they still have a lot of shit wrestlers who were just picked for their model-looks, and that makes up about half of this match. There are some immensely talented wrestlers here – Paige might be the best there is – but giant tag-team matches are one of the slowest and most boring types of matches, and this one isn’t going to be helped by only three or four of these women being excellent wrestlers.
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Also known as the best way to show a bunch of wrestlers you have nothing else to do with, Battle Royal’s are always at least minimally entertaining. I mean, you start the ring full of like thirty dudes and have them all throw each other out of it. It’s hard to get great wrestling out of this type of match, but it’s also hard for it not to be a lot of fun. This is the last match of the preshow and it’s easily the best of the bunch.
Kalisto vs Ryback
What a weird, weird match. Kalisto is one of the most entertaining wrestlers out there and has really mixed up things by bring a lucha style to the WWE, which has been awesome to watch. Ryback, on the other hand, is a mass of muscle locked into place by steroid abuse and a lack of stretching in the morning. I have no idea how this match is going to go, but it should at least be fun to watch Kalisto backflip off of Ryback’s shiny head.
This mess perfectly embodies so much of what frustrates me, and many others, about the modern WWE. It has two of the best and most loved wrestlers, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, finally fighting in a Wrestlemania, after a long of history fighting each other in independent leagues. They have incredible chemistry and have never put on a bad match in over ten years. So what does the WWE do? They add five other motherfuckers, most of which are bad, to the match and make them climb a ladder because to them, bigger always means better. I mean it will still be fun to watch Kevin Owens headbutt a bunch of oiled-up dudes off of a fifteen foot tall ladder, but this could have been so much better.
AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho
AJ Styles is an incredibly exciting wrestler recently poached from one of Japan’s biggest wrestling leagues. Chris Jericho did this recently.
The New Day vs The League of Nations
The New Day is the best damn thing to come out of the WWE in years and it’s largely because they’ve been left alone to do their own thing. Instead of trying to describe why they are amazing, I’m just going to post this:
Great right? Who cares who they are fighting here. The New Day finds a way to make everything they do hilarious and this should be no exception.
Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar
This is the best odds the WWE has had to kill a dude in-ring in ages. Dean Ambrose has his background in Combat Zone Wrestling (don’t google that if you just ate, it’s pretty gnarly) and Brock Lesnar is a giant bear-man who was the UFC Heavyweight Champion for a while. Neither of them have any regard for their own physical safety and that’s awesome. I mean I hope no one gets hurt, obviously, but these are talented guys who are going to hold nothing back and I can’t wait.
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch
This match, the finale of Wrestlemania, is why wrestling can be so good. These three women are arguably the three best wrestlers in the WWE today. Sasha Banks is fairly new, but looks good for a top ten of all-time spot. Charlotte, Sasha, and Becky all have an incredible history, going back before WWE, and have flawless chemistry. They have almost single-handedly turned around women’s wrestling in the WWE from a bunch of non-wrestling models doing absurd moves that showcase their boobs to a division that more often than not tops what the men are doing. This will be the match of the show, without question, and it’s a great way to close out Wrestlemania.
Ok, I lied. There are still two matches. But if you’re smart, you’ll stop with the three-way women’s match. The WWE wants us to think that these next two matches are the reason you’re watching, but really they are just crass marketing ploys to play on nostalgia and create a future no wrestling fan wants. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Shane McMahon vs The Undertaker
Ignore what I said about the Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar fight, this match is the one with the best odds to kill someone. The combined age of these two dudes fighting is 97. That’s not a wrestling match, that’s a bridge club. It will be interesting to see who can defeat arthritis and sleepiness to become the wrestler who can’t walk between matches without a cane.
Roman Reigns vs Triple H
HEY, WWE, CUT YOUR FUCKING LOSSES WITH ROMAN REIGNS AND MOVE ON. I don’t personally dislike the guy. He has a good look and cocks his arm like a shotgun before punching dudes. That seems ok to me. But he’s not exactly charismatic and the audience hates him with a passion. The WWE seems set on making him the Next Big Thing and giving him the championship tonight, despite over eighteen months of fan revolt, and it’s not going to be pretty. It would be cool if Triple H crotch chops him into space, but we’re probably going to see Roman win the title and Wrestlemania end with deafening boos. Like I said, stop after the Charlotte-Sasha-Becky fight.