WrestleMania 39 Night One Reaction
Welcome to the WWE WrestleMania 309 Reaction, where I offer my take on Night One of the Grandest Stage of Them All.
In case you missed anything on the show, check out John Canton’s detailed recap here.
The show kicks off, as always, with the singing of America the Beautiful. This year, it was performed by Becky G. Never heard of her before, but she did a good job. Kevin Hart narrates the video opener.
The host of WrestleMania, The Miz, is in the ring with Snoop Dog. They really didn’t say anything important beyond trying to hype the crowd up. The Spanish Announce Table has made its triumphant return to WrestleMania! Let’s hope it stays together all night.
Our opening contest has Austin Theory defending the United States Championship against John Cena. Cena had a nice entrance with some Make-A-Wish kids on the stage. The match wasn’t anything special, nor was I expecting anything spectacular either. Cena did his best to make Theory look out there. We had a ref bump that lead to a Theory tap out to the STF. Cena didn’t realize the ref was down and let go. Theory dropped Cena with a low blow as the ref got back up and finished Cena off with A-Town Down to retain his title. It was a signature win for Theory.
Titus O’Neil joins us on commentary for the Fatal Four Way Men’s Tag Team Showcase between The Street Profits, Viking Raiders, Alpha Academy, and Braun Strowman/Ricochet. There was no story going into this match beyond reestablishing the tag team division for a potential title split. This match far exceeded any expectations that I had going in and was awesome. It was a little on the short side but they kept the action going throughout. Ricochet did some crazy spots, including a top rope cross body block on a double suplex spot and a top rope shooting star press to the floor on two guys in front of the announce table. Strowman even did a Superfly Splash! Dawkins absolutely destroyed Strowman with a Ponce. That was impressive to see. The Street Profits would double up on Ricochet to pick up the win. I didn’t think the Profits would win here, but I’m not upset about it. Fantastic match.
A moment frozen in time!!!! #Immortalitypic.twitter.com/PgTwDqmCYa
— The Monster of all Monsters (@Adamscherr99) April 2, 2023
Xavier Woods was backstage with some UpUpDownDown people doing a WWE 2K23 simulation of our next match, Seth “Freakin” Rollins versus Logan Paul. The simulation picked Seth Rollins to win 58% of the time. We were all winners though with Liv Morgan standing there looking lovely in a puffy dress.
In the arena, Logan Paul was doing a Shawn Michaels zipline entrance while miced up and Rollins had a conductor to help the fans sing along with his entrance song. There was also a Prime Energy energy drink mascot at ringside as well. The match was your typical excellent Seth Rollins match. Paul continues to impress me with how good he is in the ring. He can hit some really advanced moves flawlessly. He is growing on me. The mascot turned out to be one of Paul’s friends, KSI. Never heard of him. Anyway, KSI tried to get involved in the match but Rollins countered and Paul put KSI through the Spanish Announce Table with a top rope frog splash. Well, that didn’t take long for the table to break. Check your bingo cards for it breaking the third match. Logan hit an impressive GTS for a two count. Paul went for a coast-to-coast and ate a superkick for his effort. Rollins then put Paul away with the stomp. I’m really hoping this turns into a three match series. I really want to see more from them.
Up next is the six-women tag team match with Becky Lynch, Lita, and Trish Stratus teaming up to take on Damage CTRL. Lita, Trish, and Becky were all given a black and white movie star-like entrance. That was kinda cool to see. The match was pretty good. They had some interesting spots to highlight some of the individual performers. Trish and Lita both looked great in the ring, given the fact neither are full-time performers. IYO had a nice moonsault spot on the others on the floor. After that spot, finishers seemed to get popped off and Becky pinned Bayley after a Manhandle Slam off the second rope. I really think this should be the end of both this feud and Damage CTRL as a group. I think Bayley is holding Dakota and IYO back on the main roster. They should just split and all go their separate ways.
Backlash host Bad Bunny joins the Spanish announce team for the Rey Mysterio/Dominik Mysterio match. Dominik gets a nice video talking about prison before entering the arena in a corrections van. Rey enters the arena in Snoop Dog’s low rider to Eddie’s music. Really nice touch there. Rey’s Booyaka music hits and walks down the ramp to the ring. The match had a really great storyline going for it and it played out nicely. Rey spanked Dominik with a belt while he was hung up on the second turnbuckle. Dominik got in Aalyah’s face and threw her drink in her face. She tried to hop the barricade be Rey talked her out of it. Dominik decked Rey and bounced him off the ring post. Dominik would then get smart with Angie, so she slapped him. Rey kissed his wife then returned the favor by bouncing Dominik off the ring post. That was just some great storytelling ring there. Judgment Day would eventually show up to support Dominik. Once it looked like Judgment Day would interfere in the match, Legado Del Fantasma, part of the newly formed Latino World Order, showed up to take them out. Dominik rummages through Priest’s jacket left in the corner and pulled out a chain. Bad Bunny snatched the chain away from Dominik to allow Rey to hit Dominik with the 619 and a top rope splash to pick up the win. After the match, Angie and Aalyah got into the ring to celebrate with Rey. This was the right call overall. Rey did put Dominik over in defeat. It sets up a rematch opportunity for Dominik to finally pick up the win and likely retire Rey. It’ll be some good long-term storytelling.
Charlotte Flair puts the Smackdown Women’s Championship on the line against the 2023 Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley. There was barely any kind of story for this match outside of Ripley winning the Rumble and wanting to avenge her WrestleMania 36 loss when she was the NXT Women’s Champion. The match was a bit slow to get going. Once they finally kicked into second gear, the match got really good. The fans were firmly behind Ripley for this one. Each of them had to pull out some really big moves to try to put the other away but just couldn’t do it. Ripley was playing more of the face to Flair’s heel, even though they are supposed to be reversed. Ripley finally bounces Flair’s face off the top of the ring post and finally slays her with a Riptide off the second rope to capture the championship. Ripley becomes the first and likely only singles Grand Slam Champion (NXT UK, NXT, Raw, and Smackdown). With no real story going into this match, they really delivered and it was a fantastic match. Flair could be seen after the match showing some appreciation to Ripley. Flair actually put someone over that was not part of the Four Horsewomen group.
The Miz is finally back with Snoop Dog to announce the inflated attendance figure of 80,497 people. Miz claimed to have had issued an open challenge for tonight but nobody accepted. Pat McAfee shows up and accepts the challenge. Miz said he couldn’t make the match official but Snoop Dog said he was a host of WrestleMania and made the match official.
It was not that good of a match but it had to serve as a buffer between the Smackdown Women’s Championship and Undisputed Tag Team Championship matches. Fortunately, it was kept short and McAfee picked up the win. It served its purpose of buffering us between these two championship matches.
The Night One main event has The Usos defending the Undisputed Tag Team Championship against the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This match was off the hook, as we expected. It was a great culmination of Zayn’s addition to The Bloodline. When you let a story build organically over time, this is the outcome you get rewarded with. The match was just amazing. The Usos worked the “deal with the KO/Zayn problem” angle while Zayn worked the redemption angle with Owens. It just worked so well and I don’t think either team could put on a bad match. Both teams were pulling out big spots to try to pick up the win but neither team would give up and just continued to survive. This is what a WrestleMania match should be. In the end, Zayn finished Jey off with three Helluva Kicks to capture the championships for his team. Just absolutely excellent storytelling that was hard to put into words at places. I just loved it. The greatest main event in a long time. Is this the end for The Bloodline? We’ll find out on night two.
John gave this night a rating of 9. That was a pretty fair rating. The show was excellent and possibly one of the best in recent times. I’m going to go and rate the show at 9.5. I was into the whole show from start to finish. I don’t know if Night Two can top it.
Before we take a look at the highs and lows, I wanted to address the main event “situation”. While I can agree with Charlotte Flair’s point that the woman’s Royal Rumble winner should be the main event, like the men’s Royal Rumble winner, the right match did go in the main event slot. Yes, we had Rhea Ripley making history by capturing the Grand Slam, but there was barely any story behind it. At no time was the fact that Ripley could become a Grand Slam champion ever brought up in the match build. The Bloodline story had been building to this moment for eight months or so. That was the far better story to build to the feel-good closing moments of WrestleMania. Had the Flair/Ripley match gotten a better build to it, there could have been a stronger argument for them main eventing instead.
We also have a news post where Triple H talked about the main event choice and he explained it pretty well.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
I am so happy to see Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn finally topple The Usos and capture the Undisputed Tag Team Championships for the first time as a team. Their PWG history in LA made the win all that much sweeter. They were definitely worthy of being only the second WrestleMania tag team main event.
The entire scheduled lineup delivered a fantastic WrestleMania that kept the fans engaged and hot throughout the show. Well done by everyone.
The Miz was rather useless as the host tonight. I don’t profess to be a Miz fan by any means, but Snoop Dog had way more screen time tonight. His match was McAfee wasn’t that good but we needed a buffer between the two championship matches and I’m sure he wouldn’t say no.
It’s almost time to get ready for Night Two. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter (@ciscowebwiz76) with any comments or discussion. That’s all I’ve got, until next time.