Day three of WrestleMania weekend was the day everybody was looking forward to more than any other. Day three was a Sunday and it was WrestleMania Sunday. The day started for me early in the morning as I had to prepare for a long day of action. Later in the day I would be joining some friends at a WrestleMania Pre-game tailgate party. So, I had to get out early to get supplies for what would be a hell of a party. I went to a local Walmart and I thought I would be able to pick up some beers for the show of shows. I did not realize that Texas had Blue Laws just like they do in Massachusetts. I might have been able to buy a gun at that Walmart but it was before noon on a Sunday. So, I was not able to buy beers. There would end up being plenty of beer at the tailgate party and then some but it was pretty lame that Texas let me down in this sense. Texas always felt like freedom to me but this law proved that Texas is just like everywhere else. It isn’t the wild west anymore and it was kind of a shock to me. After picking up some non-alcoholic drinks I hailed another Uber to get to AT&T Stadium for the show of shows, the highlight of the immortals-WrestleMania32.
The area around AT&T stadium was massive. There were so many parking lots that it was hard to find the one my friends would be at. There were so many parties going on in the tailgate sections. I don’t think anything even Cowboys games would have had that same atmosphere. The friends I was meeting were people I was meeting for the first time I met up with two posters from the TPWW Wrestling forum that I have been posting at since 2009. I’ve spent many hours chatting with these guys on the forum and on TPWW’s former video channel on the defunct Justin.TV website. One of these friends was from Texas and set this whole thing up. It was a great time with him and some of his family members and another member of TPWW. We had a great time before they started letting people into the arena. The crowd was massive and this developed a huge problem. WWE devised a way to stagger the crowd so not everybody would enter the arena at the same spot. Each ticket would be assigned a specific gate close to your seats. It was a good idea in theory but not so much in reality. Nobody was told that their ticket would only be good for a specific gate ahead of time. Many people were told they could not enter the arena at the spot they were at. This meant that for the first few matches on the pre-show the arena was nearly empty. I got at the right gate so I saw everything. Some people were not so lucky. The pre-show had two matches and one of them was actually a match that has a developed story line and was for the WWE United States Championship. I’m sure Kalisto and Ryback must have felt very deflated having their match happen in a near empty crowd. WrestleMania was not the highlight of their WWE year and that was very clear. The people who were their tried their best to get invested in the match but I’m not sure how it came off on camera. Kalisto retained the title and that got whatever crowd was their on their feet in applause. Next the women involved with the show Total Divas had a 10-woman tag team match. Nothing important except at the end Brie Bella appeared to retire after winning the match. Nikki Bella came out with a neck halo from her recent neck surgery. They all celebrated the victory and the end of Brie’s career. A lot of the crowd had found their seat by that time so Brie was celebrated by most of the crowd.
This WrestleMania was marred by a bizarre set of circumstances that changed the path of this show. WrestleMania is the biggest show of the year but WWE at that time was plagues by a myriad of injuries to so many of the top WWE Superstars. WrestleMania 32 was booked in the biggest arena the WWE has ever had a WrestleMania at. They had a huge opportunity missed by so many of the injuries of the top talent in the WWE. The man who dominated WWE for the last 13 years John Cena was not able to compete at WrestleMania. The man who was the WWE Champions for the most of the calendar year of 2015 Seth Rollins was injured and not able to compete. Another top star in the Viper Randy Orton had been down with another serious shoulder injury that would keep him out of action until July. A lot of the rising stars of the WWE were also out with injury including Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, Neville, Also the retirement of Sting changed what could have been a great match with the Icon Vs. The Phenom. It was reported that a top match of WrestleMania 32 would have been a double retirement match with the Icon Sting taking on the Phenom The Undertaker. WWE was felt reeling with all of these injuries to make a show worthy of the name WrestleMania. A possible match with Seth Rollins facing Triple H was also rumored to happen. Rollins would drop his WWE Championship due to injury in November forcing a tournament. Triple H and Rollins would have feuded when Rollins would have turned face against Triple H and the Authority. Or it could have happened that Triple H would have been the one to turn face as Rollins would have gained the Authority with Stephanie. Either way the match never happened and still hasn’t happened. WrestleMania would be a unique time in the WWE. WWE would have to make due with what they had and that gave WWE a great chance to make a new fresh start in sports entertainment. WrestleMania would become the first show in a new era in professional wrestling.
The marque match of WrestleMania 32 because of injuries had to involve somebody who hasn’t had a match in nearly a decade. Shane McMahon has not been involved with the WWE in nearly eight years before coming back on an episode of Raw weeks before WrestleMania. Shane was put into a huge match with one of the biggest stars in the WWE. Vince McMahon put control of Monday Night Raw on the line against secrets Shane McMahon has against his father. Inside Hell in a Cell Shane McMahon would face the Phenom The Undertaker. In a podcast on WWE Network Shane McMahon said that the Undertaker called him up about this match and said it would be a great opportunity to make history. Inside Hell in a Cell Shane McMahon put in all on the line against the Undertaker for control of Monday Night Raw. Another one of the highlight matches would be for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The champion Triple H would put the title on the line against the number one contender Roman Reigns. The final marque match would be for the newly created Woman’s Championship. It would be a Triple Threat Match for the title with Charlotte defending the Divas Championship for the final time against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch.
With all of that on the line WrestleMania would kickoff with a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. The match was won by Zack Ryder who was chosen to win by the other superstars. They all wanted to give Zack Ryder a “True Long Island Iced Z WrestleMania moment.” This match wasn’t what the WWE universe wanted. Everybody wanted WWE to have Kevin Owens defend his championship against Sami Zayn. The feud of Zayn and Owens had to be drawn out way longer on television because they didn’t take the chance on betting on Owens and Zayn in a marque WrestleMania match. They also dropped the ball having Zayn pin his longtime rival in a meaningless six-man tag team match the Raw before WrestleMania. In the match Zayn was able to get revenge and cost Owens the championship. It still wasn’t should have happened. Zayn should have won the championship in the middle of the ring pinning his rival for the first time in WWE at WrestleMania. The match itself was decent but it was not what should have been. Most of the crowd was only into this match because of Zayn and Owens. It was a real shame that they didn’t make the call on the one on one match. A real shame.
Next up was a feud that had a few months of build to it but still one that had been overused. The next match was AJ Styles taking on Chris Jericho. This match had been done a very times on WWE television and PPV already at this point. It seemed to have been somewhat done to death but they were able to pull off another great match and make the rivalry still seem fresh. The change was that the professional rivalry had turned into a bitter feud. Chris Jericho turned on Styles in a match for the WWE Tag Team title against the New Day. The team known for one night as Y2AJ was not successful in winning the titles. Jericho viciously attacked Styles after the match and then backed off from challenges from the Phenomenal one. Styles was able to pressure Jericho into accepting the match and it was on for the grandest stage of them all. It was a great back and forth match and the crowd was really into it. Jericho used the referee as a distraction to pick up a victory with a reversal into a Code Breaker. AJ Styles was defeated but the next night on Raw he became the top contender to the WWE Championship. He then also started a feud with John Cena in the weeks and months to come. Chris Jericho used WrestleMania victory to become a top draft pick in the new era of Monday Night Raw. The crowd really loved the match and that is all that matters. The feud was hot and the crowd was into it. A great match worthy of being on the card of a WrestleMania.
The next match had the crowd on their feet as they clapped along with the WWE Tag Team Champions the New Day. Walking around Axxcess I saw so many New Day t-shirts. The New Day is one of the most popular tag teams in the WWE. They came out to the ring dressed up in DragonBall Z gear and came out from a big box of Booty O cereal. It was only fair that the biggest tag team in WWE would lose on the grandest stage of them all. Of course they would lose to the one of the worst stables in the history of the WWE The League of Nations. Sheamus, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio (along with King Barrett) were able to cheat their way to victory. After winning they made the hideous claim to be the greatest group in WWE history. So of course they had to be destroyed. Steve Austin, Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels came down to the ring and laid waste to the group. There were Superkicks, Mandible Claws and Stone Cold Stunners. The New Day came back into the ring and danced with the conquering heroes. Xavier Woods (Austin Creed) was an unfortunate victim of Austin on Austin violence as he danced too much infront of Stone Cold and got the Kick-Wham-Stunner. Austin celebrated in front of his home state crowd with another Texans Shawn Michaels and non-Texan Mick Foley. The New Day would get revenge on the League of Jobbers the next night on Raw in a tag team title match. The New Day is still tag champions to this day and the League of Nations disbanded shortly after WrestleMania. The New Day was denied a WrestleMania moment but they had the last laugh. Don’t you dare be sour!
One of the most talked about match was next. In a No Holds Barred Street Fight Brock Lesnar defeated Dean Ambrose. It was talked about for months about who the Beast Incarnate would face at the biggest WrestleMania of all time. When it was announced that it would be Dean Ambrose people were surprised. Many did not see the Lunatic Fringe of being worthy of facing Lesnar. As of right now Dean Ambrose is the current WWE Champion. He now seems way more worthy of this match than he might have seemed before it. Ambrose took the fight to the Beast like no one else ever had with the use of weapons such as steel chairs, Kendo sticks, fire extinguishers and everything but the kitchen sink against the former UFC Champion. As Paul Heyman said there would be no Shield to save Ambrose from the fury of Brock Lesnar. The jumbo tron at the stadium counted each and every vicious suplex that Ambrose received at the hands of Brock Lesnar. At WrestleMania it was clear the most dangerous weapon in this match was Brock Lesnar himself. After a final F5 on top of numerous chairs Ambrose succored to the three count and Brock Lesnar was declared the victor. It was a gallant effort that Ambrose used to climb the ranks. In Lesnar’s absence there was no ill effect of the loss in the rankings for Ambrose. Dean won Money in the Bank and then cashed in on the same night to capture his first World Heavyweight Title against the returning new champion Seth Rollins. Brock Lesnar was drafted to Raw in his absence and now the WWE title is exclusive to Smackdown. Ambrose losing in a good showing probably did more for him than an easy victory. The Lunatic Fringe is now on top of Smackdown as the Ambrose Asylum is now in charge of Smackdown Live.
During the pre-show WWE Hall of Famer Lita announced that the next match would be for the new WWE Women’s Championship. In this match Charlotte would defend her Divas Championship for the last time against Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in one WrestleMania’s most talked about and possibly greatest matches. All three of these women are the face of the so called “Divas Revolution.” They all debuted in WWE on the same day on an episode of Monday Night Raw. They have used their skills to change the face of women’s wrestling since their debut and since being in WWE as a part of NXT. All three of these women were joined by NXT superstar Bayley as the Four Horsewomen of NXT. Years ago having a women’s match in WrestleMania was seen as a piss-break match. It was also usually a throw-away tag team match that could involve celebrities who had no right to be inside a wrestling ring. This time it was different. This time something important was on the line and each woman had something to prove. Charlotte would pick up the victory after a distraction from her father Ric Flair. Becky Lynch would tap out with Sasha Banks unable to break up the attempt by being pulled by Flair. Charlotte reigned supreme as the first ever WWE Woman’s Champion. As I am writing this we have a new Woman’s Champion. Sasha Banks finally picked up the victory and the title against Charlotte on the latest episode of Monday Night Raw. It was called one of the greatest Raw matches of the year and showed like this WrestleMania match that the Divas Revolution is over and that women’s wrestling is back for good.
The next contest was the Hell in a Cell for control of Monday Night Raw. Shane McMahon went to new heights literally and figuratively to try to win Raw from his father in a match against the Undertaker. Shane McMahon went to the top of the Hell in a Cell cage and tried to land an elbow drop on top of The Undertaker who was draped on the table at ringside. The Undertaker moved out of the way and Shane McMahon crashed and burned. The Undertaker would then mercifully put an end to the match with a Tombstone Piledriver for the pin fall victory. Shane McMahon lost control of Monday Night Raw but the story was not over for Shane. The next night Vince McMahon would give in and give temporary control of Raw to Shane. Shane would use that to make a new Era in WWE which would culminate in the new Draft Expansion. Shane would now be in control of SmackDown and Stephanie McMahon would be in control of Monday Night Raw. Shane stepped into one of the most dangerous matches of all time after not being in the ring in years. He really stepped up his game and helped out WWE in a major way. Shane helped out in a huge way and the future is bright with the example he showed.
The next match also showed the future in the WWE. NXT superstar Baron Corbin made his WWE debut in victory in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Corbin had his final match in NXT in a losing effort on the Friday of WrestleMania weekend at NXT TakeOver Dallas. It was decided that he would debut on the main roster at WrestleMania in the biggest way possible for him to do so. WWE right now is about the future and the former NFL star is one biggest stars of the newly minted SmackDown Live roster. He has big wins against the current number one contender Dolph Ziggler and now the former US Champion Kalisto. Time will tell if winning the Battle Royal will be what the Lone Wolf needs to make a big impact in the WWE. The crowd went crazy with chants of NXT after the victory. The crowd was a little bit drained at that point from seeing Hell in Cell. I had actually forgotten that the Battle Royal hadn’t already happened on the Pre-show as it had in years prior. The crowd was given a great story and a great moment and if the show ended at that point it would have ended on a great note. That didn’t happen because it is now time for our “main” event.
The crowd was not into the final match at all. The WWE had to use every dirty trick in the book to make sure this came off well on camera. I still haven’t seen what they turned out but I heard they did some dirty deeds indeed. In the arena every move Roman Reigns did against the champion Triple H was met with boos. Reigns was booed for the entire match. Even if he did a great move the crowd would go crazy with chants of “You Still Suck.” This match for the WWE Championship was not cared for at all. Nobody wanted to see this match except for whoever thought it up. Vince McMahon was probably the only person who thought this would have been well received. Reigns picked up the win with the Spear and then the real bullshit started. WWE had huge pyro and turned up Roman Reign’s music to full blast. They drown out the massive 100K crowd booing with all of their might. I don’t care how it came off on the WWE Network. The live crowd hated this match and hated Roman Reigns being champion. This disingenuous crap has to end if the WWE is ever to have a real future in the new era. With the aftermath Roman Reigns would go on to defeat AJ Styles in two title defenses on PPV. Reigns would then secretly (for a time) fail a drug test that would suspend him for thirty days and cause a shift in WWE booking. Reigns lost the title clean to Seth Rollins who would then be cashed in on against Dean Ambrose. Ambrose is WWE Champion and now on a different brand than Reigns or Rollins. Rollins and Reigns both lost their final re-match for the championship. Reigns lost a contendership match for a new Raw brand championship and it appears the Roman Reigns experiment is finally shown for what it is: a failure. No fake crowds or audio trickery could have him the Roman Empire has fallen.
With Raw the next night WrestleMania weekend drew to its conclusion. New stars debuted such as Enzo Amore, Colin Cassidy and Apollo Crews. WWE would draw on the popularity of Shane McMahon to create the new Brand Extension making Raw and Smakdown once again separate entities. The legacy of WrestleMania 32 will probably be that of making something really great out of terrible circumstances. Other than the main event the show was well put together and really captured the essence of what was going to be a new era in the WWE. It is the fans who make the stars in sports entertainment and people who don’t get the following of the WWE universe will not make it far in the WWE. I hope that the era of the WWE trying to tell people who to cheer and boo will finally be over. The New Era is about the fans deciding what will happen. The future looks bright and I am very proud to have been a part of this amazing WrestleMania weekend.