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April 04, 2016

WWE WrestleMania 32: Reigns’ revenge ends in WWE championship gold

Wrestling WWE
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Roman Reigns is back on top of the wrestling world after capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for a third time Sunday night.

WrestleMania 32 set a new attendance record with 101,763 people reportedly packed into Dallas' enormous AT&T Stadium. There were some empty seats, though, and The Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez noted the real figure was likely closer to 86,000.

Although this year's WrestleMania lacked the excitement of previous editions, the spectacle is still always something to behold. Some people didn’t get to behold that until the second match of the main card due to an electricity malfunction that resulted in a problem scanning tickets. Twitter exploded with angry tweets showing long lines at the stadium.

Aside from the ticket-scanning snafu, WrestleMania had a huge big event feeling to it and the whole set up for the show was fantastic. And when a lot of the older stars that were huge during the Attitude Era make appearances, the crowd gets jacked. We had a few familiar faces make appearances on Sunday night, actually.

Let’s see what happened at the biggest show of the year:

United States Championship

Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback

The age adage of David vs. Goliath took center stage in this match, as the Tale of the Tape had Kalisto ranked worst in every category they showed.

It was a good thing this match was on the preshow, because it was less than thrilling. Ryback exposed a turnbuckle in the corner before going for a powerbomb, but Kalisto countered and shoved him face first into the metal. Kalisto hit a dazed Ryback with the Salida Del Sol for the victory to retain his championship.

Your winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Kalisto

10-Divas Tag Team Match

Team Total Divas: Brie Bella/Natalya/Alicia Fox/Paige/Eva Marie vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde: Emma/Tamina/Naomi/Summer Rae/Lana

This was Lana’s in-ring debut, but she was barely involved in the match. It was nice to see her involved, though, if only because she can now say she’s been in a WrestleMania match as a wrestler.

This match was very good for what it was and exceeded expectations. Naomi went for a cross-legged moonsault, but missed and Brie got her in the Yes Lock where she tapped out.

It looked like this would be Brie’s last match because Paige hugged her instantaneously and the group hoisted her on their shoulders before the camera panned away.

Your winners: Team Total Divas

Nikki Bella, who is recovering from neck surgery, came out doing the “Yes!” chant with a neck brace and celebrated with her Total Divas cohorts.

The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz

This match wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad, either. In fact, the most interesting part of this match happened after The Usos picked up the victory via a superkick, because the Dudleys attacked them to a raucous ovation from the crowd.

Some of that ovation may have been due to the Dudleys grabbing tables and putting them in the ring, but they were attacked by Jimmy and Jey, much to the crowd’s displeasure. The twins put the Dudleys onto each of the tables and gave each of them a top rope splash, but the crowd still booed them.

Not sure what was up with the crowd with that. They just despise The Usos.

Your winners: The Usos

Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara vs. Stardust

Who wants a spotfest for the main card opener? For the second year in a row, that’s what we got.

The Miz took a nasty bump in the beginning of the match and was out of it for a while. Check out this whiplash:


Owens delivered a frogsplash onto Zayn, who was lying on the ladder floating on the bottom rope.

Ziggler had a superkick party.

Stardust paid tribute to his late father, Dusty Rhodes, with this awesome ladder.

Zayn pulled Owens off the ladder and slammed him onto another one, where he landed very awkwardly on his neck.

The Miz returned to the match and went up the ladder. He was the only one in the driver’s seat, stepped over the ladder to get a better angle to grab the title, but Ryder climbed the ladder quickly and shoved him off, and then grabbed the title to become the new champion.

Your winner and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: Zack Ryder

Unpredictable? You bet. Ryder celebrated with his father in the ring after the match.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

This would be Styles’ first match ever at WrestleMania, and it figures it would be in front of the largest crowd in WrestleMania history.

This match featured a lot of counters by each man, which could get overlooked very easily. I think that many counters give the match an even better rating because they’re really taking into account the psychology of each individual. Jericho would hit the Codebreaker for a near fall, giving Styles more credibility as a result. Styles was able to counter the Walls of Jericho by reaching the ropes.

Styles was able to hit the Styles Clash on Jericho, but he kicked out of the pin attempt. Styles then hit Jericho with a somersault plancha and proceeded to set up for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Jericho countered into a huge Codebreaker and pinned Styles for the victory.

Your winner: Chris Jericho

Does having Jericho kick out of the Styles Clash make Styles look bad? No. Are there people who think this? Yes. The series of matches is now tied 2-2, so I’m not sure how this makes Styles look bad. Sure, I would’ve liked him to win, but it’s not a burial of any sort.

League of Nations vs. The New Day

The New Day arrived in a 20-foot tall box of Booty O’s cereal, because why not?

This match was changed from the preshow to a six-man tag match rather than a four-on-three handicap match for some reason. I thought there was no doubt that the WWE World Tag Team Champions would win, but that’s why they say predictions mean squat.

Xavier Woods on the trombone is always great stuff.

Woods looked to have the match won with a rollup to Sheamus, but the Celtic Warrior kicked out and sent Woods’ momentum into the ropes where he ran into a Bull Hammer elbow from King Barrett on the outside, and then into a Brogue Kick. Sheamus pinned him for the win.

Your winners: League of Nations

After the match, Barrett grabbed the mic and said no trio could hang with them, and that was probably the wrong thing to say. Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin came out and took out the winners.

The New Day helped and then wanted to dance with the wrestling legends. Foley obliged, and it looked like Austin was about to dance, but he delivered a stunner to Woods, who I think is still flying.

No Holds Barred Street Fight

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose

I thought if anyone had a good chance to beat Lesnar recently in a match that wasn’t a Triple Threat, it would be Ambrose in this setting. A No Holds Barred Street Fight gave Ambrose all the artillery he needed to even the playing field, but he couldn’t.

Ambrose got a kendo stick, but Lesnar broke it early in the match. Later on, Ambrose was able to introduce a chainsaw but couldn’t cut Lesnar in half because he got suplexed. He actually got suplexed 13 times during the match, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he couldn’t operate a chainsaw without any distractions.

Ambrose went under the ring looking for toys, and got a fire extinguisher and sprayed Lesnar so it could buy himself time. He then got a steel chair and hit the Beast a few times before filling the ring with them. Lesnar went for an F5, but Ambrose hit a Dirty Deeds on Lesnar onto the chairs. Lesnar kicked out.

Ambrose took his shirt off and mocked Lesnar and then got his barbed wire baseball bat, but Lesnar countered his attempt to maim him and F5’ed him onto the pile of steel chairs in the ring for the win.

Your winner: Brock Lesnar

You know what people will likely overlook? The fact that Lesnar had to use 13 suplexes and an F5 on a pile of steel chairs to defeat Ambrose is nothing to scoff at. Could the story have made Ambrose look a little more like a fighter who wouldn’t give up? Maybe. They could’ve added spots. But I thought it was fine for what it was.

Howard Finkel introduced the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

Triple Threat Match for the Women’s Championship

Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

On the Kickoff Preshow, WWE Hall of Famer and former Women’s Champion, Lita, announced that the Divas Championship would be retired, as would the term “Divas” and the winner of the Triple Threat Match would be crowned as the new WWE Women’s Champion.

And what a beautiful championship it is.

Becky entered first to a nice ovation, but the next two entrances but hers to shame.

Sasha’s entrance song was sung by her cousin and now WWE Hall of Famer, Snoop Dogg, along with Raven Felix. It was a pretty neat moment for The Boss. She was also sporting ring gear paying homage to her wrestling hero, Eddie Guerrero.

When Charlotte entered the stadium, she was wearing a robe, ala her father, that featured pieces of Ric Flair’s robe from WrestleMania 24, his last WrestleMania as an in-ring performer.

The match started off fast and furious, and Charlotte eventually locked in the Figure Four leglock on Becky, but Sasha hit Charlotte with a frogsplash as her in-ring tribute to the late Guerrero. Later in the match, Becky dove outside trying to hit Sasha, but hit Ric instead.

Soon after, Charlotte nailed a picture perfect moonsault onto her opponents from the top rope onto the outside.

Once they got back in the ring, Becky got the champion in the Disarmer submission hold, but Sasha came in and locked the Bank Statement on Becky. Charlotte got Sasha in the Figure Four, but Becky pulled Sasha out of the hold.

A few moments later, Sasha got Becky in the Bank Statement, but Charlotte attacked her and sent her to the outside. The champion locked in the Figure Eight while her father prevented Sasha from getting back in the ring and that resulted in Becky tapping out.

Your winner and NEW WWE Women’s Champion: Charlotte

This was, without a doubt, the best match on the card. I dare anyone to try and say it wasn’t.

Sasha’s interview backstage after the match was awesome.

If you can’t feel that emotion by just watching Sasha talk, then I don’t know what to tell you. Kudos to all the women’s wrestlers of today for making this necessary change from “Divas” to “Superstars.”

Hell in a Cell

The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon

If Shane wins, he gets control of Monday Night Raw and it’ll be Undertaker’s last WrestleMania match

While this storyline was pretty much thrown together at the last minute due to WWE’s main roster being depleted by injury and Shane McMahon seeming to be the biggest name the company could muster to sell tickets, this match was actually not as bad as some might expect.

Shane’s clearly not a wrestler, but he’s been in matches in the past and he knows how to produce quality entertainment during his matches. This match was no different. The story was that, even though he’s 46 years old, Shane was much quicker than The Undertaker and that posed the biggest threat to the man who’s only lost one match at WrestleMania in his lifetime.

Shane put Undertaker in the Hell’s Gate submission hold, and Undertaker returned the favor later on in the match. Nobody tapped or passed out, but those spots were pretty cool. He even locked Undertaker in the Sharpshooter. How crazy would it have been if Undertaker tapped to that?

Oh, and there was this, too.

Shane grabbed boltcutters from under the ring and cut a few of the bolts on the cell, but Undertaker took advantage of that and basically speared him through the cage and the two wound up outside of the cell.

That was the opening they needed for Shane to make his ridiculous leap from the top of the cage. First, Undertaker put Shane through an announce table while he had a sleeper hold on him, so that was one big bump Shane took. He got up, wound up hitting Undertaker with a tool box and then a TV monitor from the announce table, and then proceeded to climb the cell.

Shane jumped from the top of the cage and missed Undertaker by milliseconds.

The Undertaker then threw Shane in the ring, hit him with the Tombstone and pinned him for the victory.

No shenanigans. No surprises. No more story.

Your winner: The Undertaker

Shane did a stretcher job after the match and held his right thumb up as he was being wheeled backstage.

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

Participants included: Big Show/Kane/Mark Henry/Fandango/Goldust/Adam Rose/Curtis Axel/Heath Slater/Bo Dallas/Konnor/Viktor/Jack Swagger/Tyler Breeze/Darren Young/R-Truth/Damien Sandow/Tatanka/DDP/Shaq

There were a few surprise entrants in the battle royal, and the biggest surprise was saved for last as Shaquille O’Neal made his way down to the ring and stood in front of Big Show face-to-face. Smartly enough, the participants eliminated both Shaq and Big Show quickly. That was a pretty cool and surprising moment for the fans in attendance.

Other than that moment, there weren’t many big spots or interesting eliminations where we could see possible feuds play out in the future. Kane eliminated Young but Corbin came up from behind and eliminated Kane to get the win. What a huge moment for NXT.

Your winner: Baron Corbin

Whether Corbin stays on the main roster now or not is irrelevant, because he already has his WrestleMania moment.

Shaq did challenge Big Show, “whenever, wherever.” I don’t think it’ll ever happen, but I’ll never say never.

The Rock came out and took a long time to get in the ring, mostly because he had a crazy flamethrower that he was using for some reason. He then announced the attendance record. 

The Wyatt Family interrupted his promo, which made for an awesome visual. Bray Wyatt said it was his moment, not Rock’s or the fans’, which got him great heat. Rock ran down both Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman, which pretty much made them look foolish, but he said great things about Wyatt, saying he has it all.

They teased attacking Rock, and Rock challenged them to a match.

The Rock vs. Erick Rowan

I thought Wyatt was going to face The Rock in an impromptu match, but it turned out to be Erick Rowan. Once the bell rang, Rock ducked a punch attempt by Rowan and hit him with the Rock Bottom to win the match in six seconds.

Your winner: The Rock

The Wyatts then started stalking Rock, and John Cena’s music hit.

Cena helped Rock stave off the Wyatts and the two hugged in the ring and celebrated.

A lot of people were upset with how the Wyatts were made to look, but having Rock and Cena standing tall rather than the Wyatts is a predictable WrestleMania moment. The Wyatts destroying Rock and Cena, or even just one of them, wouldn’t have garnered the same reaction. That’s likely why WWE went with Cena and Rock standing tall.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Triple H (c) vs. Roman Reigns

Triple H’s entrance, with his wife, Stephanie, was awesome. It seems like every year he tries to top the previous year’s entrance, which is kind of funny. Reigns entered to thunderous boos.

Triple H focused on Reigns’ nose a bit, and slammed his face onto the announce table like he did during his absolute annihilation of him weeks ago.

Later in the match, the champion went for the Pedigree, but Reigns countered and sent him over the ropes. Reigns hit the spear, but Stephanie grabbed the referee and pulled him outside. The ref re-entered the ring, but Triple H kicked out. Stephanie argued with the referee inside the ring and ate a spear, but the champion hit Reigns with the Pedigree and the challenger kicked out at 2.99999.

Stephanie came to and gave Triple H his patented sledgehammer, but he missed nailing Reigns and then got speared by Reigns for the pin.

Your winner and NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns

So, I’m conflicted. A lot of the outcomes were confusing, but they weren’t necessarily bad. With a depleted roster, WWE did its best to try and deliver an entertaining card to the masses, and I think they did that. There was a lot of love on social media for the show.

I just can’t figure out why they had Styles, New Day and Ambrose take defeats, and why they gave the Intercontinental Championship to Ryder. The art of building superstars is lost, with the exception of NXT. Trying to drown out the boos when Reigns won was just annoying. WWE needs to stop trying to control the crowd. It's ridiculous.

It’ll be interesting to see how WWE uses tonight to build Reigns. The Raw after WrestleMania is always the biggest of the year, so make sure you stay tuned right here at The Philly Voice for coverage on Tuesday morning.

What did you think of WrestleMania? Thumbs up, down or in the middle?

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