KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
(Search "wade keller" to subscribe in podcast app)
WrestleMania 32 PPV Report
April 3, 2016
Arlington, Tex. at AT&T Stadium
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor (@JCTorch)
Advertised Main Card
- WWE World Title match: Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
- The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon in a Hell in a Cell match
- Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose in a No Holds Barred Street Fight
- A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho
- Divas Title match: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
- IC Title match: Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn vs. The Miz vs. Stardust vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara in a seven-way ladder match.
- Tag Team situation: WWE tag champions New Day vs. League of Nations
- Andre the Giant 20-man Battle Royal (bumped up from pre-show)
- Announcers: Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton
Lilian Garcia started the show by announcing Fifth Harmony to the stage to perform America the Beautiful. WWE cut to crowd shots as fans continued to file into the building.
WrestleMania started proper with an historic video package on the History of WrestleMania. Starting with Vince McMahon’s vision. Andre the Giant, Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Edge, TLC, The Undertaker, Stone Cold, John Cena, and Daniel Bryan were highlighted. Now, WWE brings WrestleMania forward to the biggest one yet in Texas. The video really captured the grandeur of WrestleMania, but it’s too bad the storylines have been poor leading up to this year’s event.
Live inside the stadium, full pyro and fireworks shot off. Michael Cole introduced the show, saying a record crowd of over 100,000 is expected in the building (if they can get in there). Live report is about 90-95 percent full at the start of the show.
In-ring: Ladders were shown ringside, then Dolph Ziggler’s music played to bring out the first challenger in the IC Title ladder match. The Miz was out next to loud boos. Nice jacket selection for Miz. Sami Zayn was out next to a loud reaction. He sold being fired up and he bounced to the ring as the crowd sang along to his tune. After a word from the Spanish announce team, Stardust’s music played to bring out the former Cody Rhodes. After a word from the German announce team, Lucha Dragons’s theme played to bring out Sin Cara in a super-bright white, angelic-like suit.
Zack Ryder’s music then played, fulfilling his dream to hear his music at WrestleMania. The crowd was about 6/10 for Ryder when if in this same position a few years ago they would have been 10/10. Kevin Owens’s music then brought out the defending champion for KOMania. Before the match started, WWE cut to the International Announcer section on the floor to show all of the different live language broadcasts. Funaki at the Japanese table!
1 — IC champion KEVIN OWENS vs. SAMI ZAYN vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE MIZ vs. STARDUST vs. ZACK RYDER vs. SIN CARA — seven-way Intercontinental Title ladder match
The match started with Owens and Zayn, popping the crowd for the match-up they wanted to see for the belt. Stardust, in Dusty Rhodes black & gold polka-dots, cracked them across the back with a ladder to get some ring time. Owens then back-dropped Zayn onto a ladder. “Who do you think you are? This is KOMania! Go back to NXT!” he shouted. Ryder then smashed Owens and teased climbing. Hard to tell if the crowd was booing (wanting someone besides Ryder to win) or wooing like three years ago.
Zayn suddenly went nuts with a trademark flip dive through a ladder taking out five dudes on the floor. He then ran across the floor to Torpedo DDT Owens on the outside of the ringside area. The crowd went nuts for the sequence. Zayn tried to get back in the ring and take the belt, but Sin Cara cut him off on the ladder. Sin Cara then wiped out dudes on the floor with a springboard top-rope splash.
Back in the ring, Ziggler paid tribute to Mr. WrestleMania Shawn Michaels with a superkick before trying to climb the ladder. But, Owens pushed him down and both men superkicked each other. Suddenly, Stardust went under the ring to retrieve a black polka-dotted ladder, popping the crowd for the Papa Dusty tribute. Stardust, fired up, cleaned the ring of opponents. But, Owens returned to the ring to smash Miz with a neckbreaker across his leg.
Owens chucked the polka-dot ladder out of the ring, then Zayn attacked him. But, Owens cut him off and put him on a ladder. Owens then climbed to the top turnbuckle and delivered a giant frogsplash to Zayn, crunching the ladder. Owens sold injuring himself with the splash, giving Miz an opening to attack him from behind. But, Owens shook him off and delivered a pop-up powerbomb. Ryder cut off Owens, then climbed to the top of a ladder and delivered a giant elbow drop to Miz as his head brushed against the title belt hanging from the ceiling.
Ryder and Ziggler then climbed a ladder and battled before knocking each other down from the ladder. Ziggler sold injuring his left knee on the landing. Dolph hopped up a ladder on one leg, but Owens grabbed him and delivered a powerbomb off the ladder. Sin Cara got some spotlight, but Zayn cut him off trying to climb. Owens then pushed Cara off the ladder and he crashed through Stardust and the ladder Cody was resting on, taking out both men down on the floor.
Owens was alone in the ring looking to climb, but Zayn scampered back into the ring to cut him off. Another Owens-Zayn battle, this time on top of a ladder with the title belt hanging over their head. Hand on the belt. Another hand. Owens thumbed Zayn int he eye, but Zayn refused to let Owens grab the belt. T-bone suplex into a ladder, wiping out Owens.
Zayn wanted to climb the ladder. JBL said he’s leaving WrestleMania as IC champion, which meant he was not. And, Miz ruined his moment knocking Zayn off the ladder. Miz started climbing to boos, then he gloated about winning the title, but Ryder suddenly climbed up the ladder and pushed him down from behind. Ryder, alone, got a mixed reaction, but then he reached up and grabbed the title belt to a loud pop.
Post-match, Ryder celebrated on the ladder, looking as fired up as anyone ever has winning a ladder match. Ryder’s dad then hopped into the ring and met Ryder when he climbed down from the ladder. After a replay of Ryder winning the match, they cut back to Ryder standing on top of the ladder woo-woo-woo’ing with the crowd. Cole said he toiled for 10 years and finally accomplished his dream.
WINNER: Ryder at 15:23 to capture the Intercontinental Title. Exciting match with some nice, tight sequences, especially the Owens-Zayn business that can lead into TV. Ryder’s win was completely out of nowhere if you didn’t see the betting lines completely flip on Saturday. There was hardly any story build-up other than Ryder getting a fluke win over Chris Jericho on Raw leading into Mania. (***1/4)
Video Package: A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho feud, focusing on Jericho becoming increasingly agitated by Styles’s presence in WWE.
In-ring: Fireworks shot off to bring out Chris Jericho in his latest WrestleMania match. A.J. Styles’s beat then played to bring out Styles in his first WrestleMania. How many wrestlers have wrestled the Jan. 4 Tokyo Dome Show and WrestleMania three months later in the same year? Styles joins a short list.
2 — A.J. STYLES vs. CHRIS JERICHO
Styles entered the ring and soaked it up as the opening bell sounded. The crowd picked up a loud “A-J-Styles” chant, taunting Jericho. Jericho got the upper hand, but Styles clotheslined him over the top rope. On the floor, Jericho grabbed a chair and chucked it to the ground in frustration.
Styles chased Jericho back into the ring and slammed him, then nailed an innovative armdrag. Styles then one-upped Jericho after avoiding his offense, sending Jericho flying to the floor. Styles wanted a plancha, but Jericho kicked Styles in mid-air.
Back in the ring, Jericho worked on Styles. He lost focus, though, allowing Styles to nail rapid-fire slaps and strikes into a leaping dropkick. Styles wanted to follow up, but Jericho rolled through into the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. Styles dragged himself to the bottom rope to break free, though.
The match moved to the top turnbuckle, where Jericho yelled at Styles as he pounded him with forearms. Styles blocked, then grappled Jericho and delivered a front-face superplex that put both men down on the mat. Both men returned to their feet and Styles wanted the Pele Kick, but Jericho grabbed Styles’s foot and put him back in the Walls of Jericho. Styles fought the hold, then rolled underneath Jericho to punch and kick free. And he flowed into the Calf Crusher submission. Jericho slapped himself around refusing to tap out. He then elbowed Styles in the back of the head and nearly pinned him.
Jericho tried to attack Styles, who caught him in mid-air for a Clash teaser. Jericho blocked, then dumped Styles over the top rope to the ring apron. Styles rocked him with a forearm, then went for the springboard forearm, but Jericho ducked and nailed the Codebreaker. Jericho was slow to make a cover, though, allowing Styles to kick out. Jericho sold being shocked that he wasn’t able to finish off Styles.
Reset at 12:00 with Jericho slapping around Styles. He wanted the Styles Clash with a big grin on his face, but Styles knew the counter to his own finisher and flowed into a wheelbarrow slam for a close two count. They went into a reverse/counter sequence ending with Styles nailing the Styles Clash in the middle of the ring. The crowd went nuts. But, Jericho kicked out, causing the crowd to go mental.
Reset at 15:00 with both men selling exhaustion. Styles walked into a forearm strike, but Styles smashed him back. Big knock down blow by Styles, but he ran right into boots from Jericho. Jericho wanted the Lionsault, but Styles blocked with knees to the gut. Styles then wanted a springboard 450 splash, and he connected. Styles covered, but Jericho kicked out again. Styles sat up with a fired-up look on his face, then he snap-suplexed Jericho.
Styles got up and removed his elbow pad with a crazy look in his eyes. Styles wanted the Phenomenal Forearm as Jericho sold on the mat. Styles fired up the crowd before he approached Jericho for the forearm, but the ref was obviously way too close. Styles hesitated when Jericho pulled the ref in the way and he was able to grab Styles for a mid-air Codebreaker. Jericho covered Styles for the win as the announcers argued about Jericho using the ref to defeat Styles.
WINNER: Jericho at 17:10. A very good WrestleMania match with an anti-climatic ending. WWE’s booking plans changed on this one to Jericho winning, making you wonder if they were going to have a big run-in to cause Styles to lose, but instead it was a slight heel tactic from Jericho to get his win and give Styles an “out.” TV follow-up will be interesting to see if they have a fifth match to decide the series. (***3/4)
Ringside: WWE showed Stephen Amell in the crowd.
Backstage: Maria Menonous brought in new IC champion Zack Ryder for a promo. Ryder said he’s getting his picture with Razor Ramon after winning this IC Title ladder match. “I did it,” he declared before slapping the title belt.
In-ring: Big E. made it clear New Day was coming out. A giant box of Booty-O’s came out on the stage, then it tipped over. Cereal and WWE tag champs New Day emerged from the box dressed in what was described as Dragon Ball Z-inspired outfits. Kofi Kingston, Big E., and Xavier Woods did their pre-match promo routine before Xavier worked the trombone on the way to the ring. The League of Nations was then introduced to the ring as their opponents.
WM32 Second Hour
3 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (KOFI KINGSTON & BIG E. & XAVIER WOODS) vs. LEAGUE OF NATIONS (SHEAMUS & RUSEV & ALBERTO DEL RIO w/King Barrett) — six-man tag match
As the bell sounded, Cole relayed what WWE decided on this match – a six-man tag, not a four-on-three handicap match. Barrett was the odd-man out. Sheamus overpowered Xavier early on. Rusev, sporting new wrestling trunks and boots, tagged in to work on Xavier. The League worked on Xavier for 4-5 minutes before he dumped Del Rio clear over the top rope to the floor. Barrett tried to encourage Del Rio to stop Xavier from making a tag, and he was able to cut him off by tagging in Sheamus, who blasted Xavier.
Xavier eventually tagged in Kofi, who cleaned house. He introduced a new double-knee smash with a push-down as opposed to fall-away element to differentiate from the Codebreaker. Barrett got involved from the outside, though, nearly costing Kofi the match. Big E. re-emerged and tagged into the match to spear and tackle all three League participants off the ring apron.
Back in the ring, Kofi and Xavier combined for a top-rope double stomp to Sheamus for a close two count. Xavier did not follow up, allowing Del Rio to take him out with a Backstabber. Del Rio then wiped out Kofi with a double foot stomp to the chest on the ring apron. Back in the ring, Xavier stumbled into a Bullhammer from Barrett on the outside. The ref didn’t see it, then Sheamus wiped out Xavier with a Brogue Kick for the win, generating groans from the crowd.
WINNERS: The League at 10:03. Basic TV quality tag match. New Day’s pre-match routine is over, but when they settle into a default face role in a tag match setting, it’s a bit jarring for the crowd used to seeing New Day play the heel role without ever turning face. (**1/4)
Post-match: The League celebrated in the ring, then Barrett took the mic, which could mean only one thing – a post-match angle. Barrett said no three-man unit in history could match them. Shawn Michaels’s music played to interrupt, popping the crowd. Michaels, looking in great shape, got fired up on the stage and posed, then Mick Foley’s music played to bring out a slimmed-down Cactus Jack looking to fight. They needed a third man. The glass broke and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out to a huge pop. Big moment for Austin, Foley, and Michaels on the stage in Texas. Austin was dressed in blue jeans, a Dallas 3:16 t-shirt, and tennis shoes for his physical involvement of the night.
Austin led HBK and Foley down to the ring as The League noted there are four of them and three of them. The crowd went mental for the scene. Suddenly, New Day yanked out one of the heels from the outside and the fight was on. Michaels nailed Sweet Chin Music, Foley pulled out Mr. Socko, and Austin dropped a Stunner. Barrett was then tossed back into the ring to take the assembly line Superkick, claw, and Stunner. JBL popped for the Texas reunion down the road from the Sportatorium.
Stone Cold’s music played again, then was interrupted by New Day’s tune. New Day danced and celebrated with HBK, Austin, and Foley. Austin danced with Xavier like a goof, then dropped Xavier with a Super Stunner. Great sell by Xavier. New Day exited and Stone Cold’s music played again. Beers were tossed into the ring and Michaels sold feeling uncomfortable holding this can in his hands. Austin went full Stone Cold mode as the crowd popped. Foley enjoyed a beverage as the Texas Trio celebrated on the way out.
Video Package: WWE Network programming. With Mick Foley.
Announcers: JBL was pretty much blown up at ringside so excited after the Texas segment. Cole then transitioned to Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose hype. It’s next.
In-ring: Brock Lesnar’s music played to a big reaction, bringing out Lesnar and Paul Heyman, who handled the formal ring introduction for Lesnar. Dean Ambrose’s music then played to bring out a fired-up Ambrose with taped fists looking for a fight. No sign of his red wagon with the weapons from Raw, though.
4 — BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. DEAN AMBROSE — No Holds Barred Street Fight match
As soon as the bell sounded, Lesnar grabbed Ambrose and smashed him into the corner. Big suplex followed. Then a second. “Two!” the crowd shouted. Ambrose shook it off, then smirked. Release German Suplex marked #3 in the first 50 seconds. Ambrose rolled to the floor and grabbed a kendo stick, which he used to blast Brock. Brock took the blows going back into the ring, but shook off the attack and snapped off suplexes #4 and 5.
Lesnar grabbed a kendo stick and snapped it over his leg, saying he doesn’t need it. German Suplex to make it #6. Dean comically indicated he’s good, then fell to the mat. Saxton took Ambrose back to Puerto Rico when he fought through batteries, prompting JBL to scream at him for comparing Brock to batteries. Suplex #7 interrupted JBL yelling at Saxton.
Lesnar then scooped up Ambrose and tossed him overhead for Suplex #8. Lesnar stepped on Ambrose as he reached for kendo sticks scraps, then let him get up. Dean thanked him with a slap to the face. Brock, agitated, stalked his prey until Dean fired back with forearm strikes. And, Brock had enough of that, landing suplex #9. (Notably, they are putting the number of suplexes on the Titantron after each one.)
Brock then picked up a kendo stick looking to take a swing for the fences. No, he didn’t need a stick. He told Ambrose to come get the stick and Dean obliged. Suddenly, Dean smashed Brock with a low-blow, sending Heyman into a tizzy. Dean smashed Brock with the kendo stick, sending him out of the ring, then he flew through the ropes with a suicide dive to the outside.
On the floor, Dean grabbed his chainsaw gifted by Terry Funk, but Lesnar suplexed him on the floor, landing #10. The crowd chanted “10, 10, 10” for the Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger NXT gimmick. It was short-lived, as Dean fired back on Brock with a chair to the back. Dean tried to climb back into the ring with the chair, but Brock stormed the ring ropes and suplexed Dean clear off the top rope for #11.
Lesnar then picked up the kendo stick and decided he wanted to use it this time, but Dean suddenly sprayed him with a fire extinguisher. Dean grabbed a chair and smashed a blinded Brock with it. Dean then put the chair in Brock’s face and nailed a running basement dropkick sending the chair into Brock’s face. Dean then climbed to the top turnbuckle and delivered a chair-aided elbow smash to the chest, resulting in a two count.
Reset at 10:00. Dean left the ring and tossed a dozen chairs into the ring as Brock recovered. Dean charged Brock with a chair, but Brock ducked and suplexed Dean over the chairs for #12. Brock actually landed on the chairs delivering the suplex. Brock got up first and picked up Dean looking for an F5 into the pile of chairs, but Dean landed on his feet and DDT’ed Brock near the chairs for a close two count.
Dean had enough of this and tossed his shirt away. Dean mocked Brock’s pose to laughs, then went under the ring looking for Mick Foley’s gifted Barbed Wire baseball bat. Dean returned to the ring eyeing Brock as his target for a swing, but Brock blocked. He then German Suplexed Dean onto the pile of chairs, marking #13. Heyman told Brock to finish him, and Brock delivered a massive F5 onto the chairs. Brock covered Dean for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Lesnar at 13:06. Expected result and they gave Dean enough offense and cool moments to not be washed away by the outcome. Just a lot tamer of a match than expected with the Street Fight stipulation. More like a WWE-style brawl focusing on one item or one weapon-aided sequence at a time. (***1/2)
Movie Video: Ric Flair talked to Zack Ryder in a Snickers spot. Dolph Ziggler walked in woo’ing, then Flair told “Ryder” that he gets a little confused when he’s hungry. Ryder took a bite and returned to form as Charlotte, Flair’s daughter.
Outside: AT&T Stadium at sunset. Cole said it’s a record crowd of over 100,000 inside the stadium.
Announcers: Cole said they are in Texas, which is rich in wrestling history. JBL echoed Cole’s comment, then Cole went to a Hall of Fame video package, noting the Texas theme. The video highlighted Sting officially retiring last night at the Hall of Fame.
Back live, Howard Finkel (not pictured) continued his streak of WrestleMania appearances introducing the Hall of Fame class. Already on-stage were The Godfather, Stan Hansen, the Big Boss Man’s family, Jacqueline, Joan Lunden, The Fabulous Freebirds (with Michael Hayes in the same outfit as last night), and Snoop Dogg. Pause. Sting’s music played to bring out the Hall of Fame headliner at center-stage. Sting emerged on-stage as Steve Borden dressed in a suit and shades. Lots of Stinger howls and posing for the crowd. Finkel signed off for the HOF segment with a final zoom-in on Sting.
Announcers: Cole transitioned to Lita announcing the new WWE Women’s Title, replacing the Divas Title, on the WrestleMania pre-show.
Video Package: Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks started a Revolution, which turned into a “rebellion.” WWE flashed through the history of Women’s champions, now arriving at this moment.
WM32 Third Hour
Back in the arena, Lita was standing by in the ring to hold the new Women’s Title belt. Becky Lynch was introduced first. She was super fired-up making her way down the entrance ramp to the ring. Sasha Banks’s music then played and Snoop Dogg came back out to sing her cousin down to the ring. Really cool moment. Cole said Sasha’s ring gear was inspired by Eddie Guerrero. He said Sasha watched Eddie win the World Title from Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004 at the Cow Palace and knew she wanted to be in this spot one day.
Charlotte’s music then played to bring out the Divas champion in a Ric Flair robe. Clean. Flair backed up Charlotte, who wore the Divas Title belt to the ring, which Cole noted will be retired after this match. Five-star ring entrances. Lilian Garcia then handled formal ring introductions. All boos for Charlotte, all cheers for Sasha, and strong cheers for Becky, but clearly the third wheel.
5 — (Former) Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. SASHA BANKS vs. BECKY LYNCH — three-way match for newly introduced WWE Women’s Title
The crowd was jacked at the start of the match. Would they stay jacked once the three-way formula played out with Sasha in a bit of a tweener role and Becky the lovable, yet non-winning babyface? They built to a spot where Flair got involved from the outside. He woo’ed in Sasha’s face, so Becky came flying over the top rope splashing Flair. Flair fell on top of Becky on the way down, then rolled to the ground selling a loss of consciousness.
The match resumed in the ring with the ladies trading submissions, only to be broken up by the other participant. Charlotte even went for a moonsault resulting in a nearfall. Meanwhile, live correspondents are noting studio audience-like cues on the scoreboard, a la the Suplex Counter for Brock-Dean. Back in the ring, all three battled in the corner. Sasha ended up being upside-down in the corner, then Becky superplexed Charlotte right over Sasha.
Sasha recovered and tried to put Becky in the Bank Statement, but Charlotte threw Sasha out of the ring. She then put Becky in the figure-eight submission. Sasha tried to get back in the ring, but Flair had Sasha by the feet, preventing her from breaking it up. Becky was forced to tap out to Charlotte, keeping the gold with the Flairs. The crowd groaned.
Post-match, Saxton and JBL argued about Flair’s involvement, then Cole tried to promote the WWE marketing of a new era of women’s wrestling, etc., trying to cover for the babyfaces losing.
WINNER: Charlotte retained via submission at 16:03, ending the Divas Title era and continuing as the new WWE Women’s champion. Usually, if you have a heel who regularly cheats outside the ring and you get to a big event, you have the heel get neutralized in order for the babyface to prove his/her superiority when the heel is removed from the equation. So, the booking made no sense for this to continue at Mania. Perhaps Mania isn’t a big enough event to pay off Flair’s repeated interference with the face(s) conquering. Or, tomorrow night’s Raw is bigger than Mania. Strange. The rest of the match was strong. (***)
Back in the arena, WWE highlighted the Hell in a Cell structure above the ring. WWE then cut to a video package on Shane McMahon’s return to WWE to confront Vince McMahon, who booked him against The Undertaker.
In-ring: Shane McMahon’s music played to bring out Shane O’Mac dancing and strutting out on the stage in a white WM32 jersey, black pants, and white shoes. Shane’s three sons then bounced out on the stage and danced with him down to the ring. Shane and his sons bounced down to the ring in a cool moment, just embracing the Fantasy Camp aspect of this weird match. Shane deposited his sons on the front row, then kissed his wife on the front row before entering the Cell.
The bell tolled and The Undertaker’s music played. Pyro shot across the stage and a giant light show filled the arena – the first really big spectacle entrance of the night. Taker emerged on-stage and slowly walked front-and-center in the middle of the light display. Taker then began his slow, methodical walk down the entrance ramp as the announcers remained silent. Taker walked through blue smoke half-way down the ramp; no cut-aways to Shane. More laser-like pyro shot off in the background on the stage, making sure Taker was not going to get catch on-fire. Taker hit the ring steps and more flames shot off in the background. WWE cut to Shane standing stoically in the ring with eyes laser-focused on Taker, not flinching. Taker entered the Cell and slammed the door shut for dramatic effect. Taker then entered the cage to start the fight.
6 — THE UNDERTAKER vs. SHANE MCMAHON — Hell in a Cell match — If Shane wins, he gains control of Raw — if Shane loses, he gives up the lockbox to Vince McMahon — if Taker loses, this is his final WrestleMania
Shane came out of his corner with a pump kick trying to pick a fight with Taker. Shane tried to fire off some right hands that Taker shook off. Shane wanted to do an MMA-style fight with kicks and blows while dancing around the ring. Taker then kneed him in the gut to take control of the Cell. He tossed Shane out of the ring to the floor next to a Cell wall.
Back in the ring, Taker knocked down Shane with a big blow, then dropped Shane with Snake Eyes, but Shane came flying out of the corner with an impressive strike. Taker kind of kneeled up to almost no-sell and shake off the move, then he threw Shane out of the ring. Taker chucked Shane into a Cell wall, then grabbed ring steps. Taker blasted Shane, then dragged him back into the ring.
Taker lifted Shane in the air and delivered a Last Ride powerbomb in the ring. But, Shane kicked out of a pin. Taker was offended by this, so he left the ring to grab the ring steps looking to end Shane, but Shane grabbed Taker in a submission. Shane pumped his fist as if he thought he was going to beat Taker. Taker sold for Shane using just one arm to keep him locked in a submission. Taker eventually broke free, then chokeslammed Shane onto the ring steps. Taker covered Shane on the ring steps, but Shane kicked/rolled out. The crowd booed a bit.
The match hit 9:00 as Taker paced the ring, then wanted a running elbow onto the ring steps, but Shane moved and Taker ate the ring steps. Taker slowly got up and Shane welcomed him to bring it again, so Taker did, and Shane moved, sending Taker face-first into the ring steps. Shane then punched away at Taker, but Taker put him in Hell’s Gate. Shane fought the hold as he groaned to sell pain. He survived Taker’s submission finish, then rolled into a submission of his own, eventually trying to put Taker in the Sharpshooter. He didn’t apply it in full, so Taker eventually kicked him away.
Taker recovered in the corner showing age as Shane punched him with right hands. Shane then went under the ring to retrieve a trashcan. Shane stomped and kicked Taker, then put the trashcan over Taker. Shane wanted the Coast-to-Coast dropkick, he balanced himself on the top rope, and he flew across the ring kicking the can into Taker’s chest.
Shane very slowly managed to cover Taker, who kicked out before three. Shane then left the ring and retrieved some wire-cutters. 17 minutes in, Shane cut open a hole in the Cell as the announcers speculated on Shane’s plans. Taker then met Shane on the floor to resume their fight trading right hand blows. Suddenly, Taker picked up Shane and threw him through the Cell wall, landing on the German announce table.
WM32 Fourth Hour
At 18:00, both men rested on the Cell wall trying to recover. Taker then punched away at Shane before clearing the ringside announce tables. He picked up the oddly-shaped TV monitor that Shane used on him last Monday on Raw and he popped it over Shane’s head. Taker then chucked Shane into the barricade and they spilled into the crowd near Sign Guy.
Taker eventually put Shane on a platform near the announce tables looking for a Tombstone, but Shane hopped on his back and applied a standing sleeperhold hanging onto Taker’s back. Drool from Taker. Taker then regrouped and flung both of them through the air and through one of the tables to break the sleeper.
Super Shane got up first and grabbed a toolbox, which he bounced off Taker’s face. He then emptied the contents of the toolbox onto Taker’s face with another box shot. Shane leaned against the Cell wall as Taker sold on the remaining announce table. Shane then looked up and the crowd went there with him. Shane bashed Taker in the face one more time with the TV monitor, then looked to the top of the Cell. Shane started climbing to the top of the Cell as Taker continued to sell on the table. Shane sold exhaustion once he got to the top of the Cell. “Shane, get down!” Cole shouted on commentary.
Shane peered over the edge of the Cell as Taker continued to sell on the table. Cole told him to think about his sons and his wife. Shane eventually stood up on the Cell, took a careful step forward to the edge, crossed himself, and dove off the Cell like a kid jumping off the high dive for a first time going into 10-foot-deep water. As Shane came falling down, Taker moved out of the way and Shane crashed right through the table, landing with his butt in the air over his head. Refs immediately checked on Shane, whose eyes fluttered selling being KO’ed. Cole freaked out on commentary, then Taker shot a look like this kid is crazy and he just avoided being killed if Shane connected with the dive.
Taker slowly came back to his feet after getting over the shock of Shane’s big flying attempt. Suddenly, Shane got up and told Taker to bring it. So, Taker punched him, then dragged him back into the ring. Taker was slow to recover to his feet as Shane sold losing feeling in his body five minutes removed from the dive. Taker then told Shane to bring it. Shane told him to bring it back, so Taker patted him on the cheek, picked him up in the air, and delivered a Tombstone in the middle of the ring. Taker covered Shane for the pin and the win.
Post-match: Cole said Taker’s WrestleMania legacy is intact and he will be able to continue at WrestleMania. The announcers then talked up Shane wanting to be an agent of change for WWE. They talked up Shane’s guts before noting Taker’s Mania record of 23-1.
Taker then left the ring and slowly walked up the entrance ramp as a cart went flying past him down to the ring. Apparently it was to help Shane out of the ring. Shane writhed on the mat selling the effects of the match before EMTs entered the ring to place Shane on a backbrace and get him out of the ring. Meanwhile, the announcers talked about Shane going to extreme lengths wanting to prove his legacy and be an agent of change in WWE. WWE replayed Shane going off the Cell through a table before cutting back to Shane being placed on the backbrace and taken out of the ring on a cart as the crowd applauded. So dramatic trying to finish off the story. Shane did the Thumbs Up gimmick on the way out before pounding his chest.
WINNER: Taker at 30:05. They went for an epic Mania story, but it was Shane McMahon, a non-wrestler against Undertaker in one of Taker’s last WrestleMania matches. Just a weird deal from start to finish taking up about 45 minutes from entrance to match to post-match. (n/a)
Studio: Renee Young, Booker T, Lita, and Corey Graves talked about the show to this point as a mini-intermission.
In-ring: Wrestlers started filling the ring for the Andre the Giant battle royal. Baron Corbin from NXT was in the mix. So was Tatanka. Mark Henry got his own ring entrance, introduced from Silsbee, Texas. Henry threw up the Hook ‘Em Horns as Cole talked up Henry coming home to East Texas for WrestleMania. Kane’s music then played to bring him out. Bang! Diamond Dallas Page’s music played to bring out DDP as a special entrant. Product Placement in full effect with a DDPYoga t-shirt. Big Show got an entrance, too, as the defending champion. Everyone stared at Show, then new music played. It was Shaq storming the ring as the final entrant.
7 — 20-MAN ANDRE THE GIANT BATTLE ROYAL
The bell sounded for Shaq and Big Show to have a big staredown. Then, they double chokeslammed Kane. The whole ring cleared out for Shaq and Big Show to resume their Guest-Star Era feud. Fandango entered the ring and got tossed. Damien Sandow then entered and got tossed to boos. Shaq and Show then had a double chokeslam grip battle, leading to the rest of the battle royal entering the match trying to push both men out of the ring. Shaq was dumped over the top, then Show was dumped over the top for two eliminations. Show and Shaq shook hands before leaving to the back.
The battle royal resumed with the rest of the guys battling amongst themselves after WWE got their big spot of the match out of the way in the opening minutes. Suddenly, Page dropped Viktor with a Diamond Cutter. Connor then dumped out Page. Connor was then eliminated.
Suddenly, Tatanka started feeling it with the ’90s foot stomp no-selling Adam Rose. Tatanka delivered a nostalgia top-rope chop, then measured Rose for a clothesline, but Corbin dumped Tatanka over the top rope. Corbin laughed to himself, then Kane eliminated Jack Swagger. Curtis Axel, wearing PacSun board shorts, went after Kane for a bit.
Truth tried to get some shine, but he got dumped out. Goldust then took a dive from the Social Outcasts, who were ruling the ring. Slater, Bo Dallas, Axel, and Rose did a victory lap around the ring, drawing Kane’s ire. Kane stopped all four in their tracks and they ended up running into Corbin. Axel was eliminated, then Rose. Kane chokeslammed Corbin, though. Henry then dumped out Slater. Tyler Breeze tried to attack Henry, so Henry dumped him over the top rope.
It was down to Henry, Kane, Corbin, Bo Dallas, and Darren Young, who was hiding most of the match. Suddenly, D-Young and Kane dumped Henry out of the ring. Young got himself fired up, so Kane eliminated him. Corbin then eliminated Kane from behind to win the battle royal. Corbin fired up and posed with the Andre statue down at ringside.
WINNER: Corbin at 9:41. This is a weird show. (n/a)
Next Year: Cole introduced a video on WrestleMania 33 going to Orlando on April 2, 2017. WWE went for an outer-space theme on the “universe converging on a magical place where anything can happen.”
Back in the arena, Lilian Garcia introduced “America’s Sweethearts,” the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. “Halftime entertainment” bridging to the final two segments of the PPV.
After a pause, Lilian Garcia introduced The Rock. Big reception for Rock, who emerged on-stage, then pulled out a weapon or something. A t-shirt gun? It was a fire gun. JBL called it a flame-thrower. Rock flashed the flame a few times on the stage, then started walking down the stage. Rock told the crowd that he sees them and flamed the air again.
Suddenly, there was a giant “R-O-C-K” sign off-stage. Rock set the letters on-fire. Rock then walked through Cowboys cheerleaders lining the entrance ramp down to the ring. Rock entered the ring and posed for the crowd, sweating profusely. Rock’s music stopped and he did the routine milking the crowd before speaking.
“Finally, Rock has come back to Dallas.” They’re actually in Arlington. Rock said that means Rock has finally come back to WrestleMania. Rock said that entrance was on-fire. He shouted out to the cheerleaders, then “this crowwwwwwd.” Rock said he sees a lot of happy people out there. A lot of smiling faces. He said a lot of people are going to go home and make some WrestleMania babies. He’ll check back in nine months.
Rock said this is the moment he’s been talking about for months. He said this is his place – one mic, one ring, and the millions … and millions. Rock said he told everyone they were going to come to Dallas and make history. He said records are made to be broken. Rock said it is with great honor that he informs everyone that tonight they have officially broken the WrestleMania Attendance Record.
The screen flashed 101,763, topping the marketed 93k at WrestleMania 3. Rock’s music played, making it seem like this was the end of his appearance.
Suddenly, the Wyatt theme played. The stadium lit up with cell phones and the like as Rock stood his ground in the ring. WWE obviously booked the Wyatts for this segment for this visual. Bray Wyatt led Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman down to the ring as Cole recapped their roles behind Bray.
Bray stopped at the ringside area and introduced himself to Mr. Rock. Bray approached the ring apron with his henchmen. Bray said he chose Rock because he represents success and greatness. Bray then entered the ring and told Rock that he represents a lie. He told Rock that this is not his moment. He said this is definitely not the fans’s moment. Bray told Mr. Rock that this is his moment. “I am going to eviscerate you on the grandest stage of them all,” Bray said. “And I’m going to make them watch every second of it.”
Rock contemplated Bray’s words, then spoke. “So, let The Rock get this straight,” Rock said. You came out here to interrupt people making babies and there’s no formal greeting? Instead you come out here with your gimmick before going to Cracker Barrel? Rock said Bray comes out here acting like he’s been high for eight straight days. Braun and Erick tried to storm the ring, but Bray held them back. Rock told Rowan that his parents are clearly related. And Braun looks like he’s been breast-fed since he was 26.
Rock wanted to address Bray. He knows who he is. Rock said Bray has it all. “The ability, the charisma, the tats, the beard, and leadership,” Rock said. He told Bray he made 100,000 people hold their phones in the air. But, what do you do with that? You run some gibberish and now he’s knocking on a door he doesn’t want answered. Bray said he didn’t come here to knock on a door, but kick one down.
Bray said Rock has no idea who he’s fooling with. Rock said he has an idea. Rock removed his tanktop ready to fight. He said this is what they’re going to do in the Big D. They’re not going to have a WrestleMania fight, but a WrestleMania match. Rock said it could be Bray or these two monkeys, but someone is getting their ass kicked.
Rock removed his warm-up pants, revealing his signature Brahma Bull trunks. He then pulled out his elbow pads and prepared to wrestle. Rowan and Rock went face-to-face for about 30 seconds, then Rock told a ref to hit the bell.
8 — THE ROCK vs. ERICK ROWAN
Bell, charge, kick to the stomach, Rock Bottom, and three count.
WINNER: Rock at 0:06. Well, that was that.
The announcers hyped that as a WrestleMania match record. The Wyatts wanted more, though, and surrounded Rock in the ring. Suddenly, John Cena’s music played. Cena stormed out on-stage and bounced down the stage conducting the crowd in a “John Cena Suuucks” sing-song. Cena stormed the ring and stood tall with Rock as the Wyatts held their ground on the ring apron.
Cena and Rock then teed off on the Wyatts. Rock Bottom to Braun Strowman. Sit-out slam to Rowan to boos. Cena then dropped the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Rowan. Rowan popped up into an AA, then Bray Wyatt hit the ring and took a spinebuster from Rock. Rock looked deeply into the hard camera, then removed his elbow pad and tossed it into the crowd. People’s Elbow to Bray Wyatt.
Rock then took the mic and welcomed Cena back before signing off. His music played and he celebrated with Cena, who left the ring before Rock. Cena and Rock reunited on the stage to wrap up their segment.
Video Package: To take a breather before the main event, WWE ran a video package on the Triple H vs. Roman Reigns feud.
In the arena, random dark music played. Stephanie McMahon was then revealed on a platform dressed in a crazy costume with wild hair doing one of her Raw TV promos yelling at the crowd about their pathetic lives and bowing down to The Authority. Triple H then emerged from backstage and walked down to ringside with Stephanie and a row of people dressed in black masks and black outfits apparently representing the soulless subjects of The Authority. Hunter and Steph posed in the ring as the announcers talked up Hunter representing the law in his mind.
Hunter’s music eventually stopped and he smooched Stephanie. The boos started – were they for Hunter or anticipation of Reigns’s entrance? The Shield’s music played and Roman Reigns emerged on-stage dressed in a “RR” logo vest and wristguards. Reigns cocked his fist, then pounded the stage, producing a fireworks display in the stadium and outside with exterior pyro.
Reigns and Hunter came face-to-face in the ring before Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions. Reigns was heavily booed, then Hunter got a mixed reaction that leaned positive.
9 — WWE World Hvt. champion TRIPLE H (w/Stephanie McMahon) vs. ROMAN REIGNS — WWE World Hvt. Title match
Apparently this is not a No DQ match, per the local advertising.
Hunter emphatically tossed Reigns over the top rope to the floor early on, popping the crowd. Hunter held open the ropes for Reigns to re-enter the ring. “Roman Sucks” chant from the crowd. Reigns returned to the ring with a smirk and locked up with Hunter, who took control of the match. Reigns came back with a flying clothesline that left a lot of light. He tried to charge Hunter in the corner, but Hunter dumped him to the floor. Reigns responded with a two-foot dropkick to Hunter’s face.
Hunter then used Steph as a distraction to smash Reigns low. Hunter took over the match, setting a slow pace working over Reigns. Hunter then dragged Reigns to the outside and rammed his face/nose into the announce table, trying to re-injure him. Reigns fought back to boos. But, Hunter sent Reigns flying over the German announce table, wiping out one of the announcers.
Back in the ring, Hunter hung Reigns across the top rope and looked for an attack from the second rope, but Reigns intercepted with an uppercut for a nearfall. Reigns slowly walked around the ring to boos, then cocked his fist and went for a Superman Punch, but Hunter rolled out of the way to the floor. Reigns followed to the floor with a running clothesline off the ring steps.
But, Hunter reversed momentum and tossed Reigns over the German announce table again. Reigns sold taking a nap as Hunter kind of walked around the ringside area with Stephanie trying to talk him up. Suddenly, Reigns woke up from his nap and charged Hunter to spear him through a gimmicked barricade. Both men sold in the floor seating area.
They eventually made it back into the ring as the crowd became restless. Reigns sold having an injury of sorts. Stephanie taunted him about continuing the match. A “Nakamura” chant broke out as Reigns continued to sell. Hunter eventually just put Reigns in an armbar submission trying to create some excitement. Reigns faded, then sold agony locked in the submission. Reigns started to reverse to boos. They went with this submission teaser for a while, then Reigns powered Hunter into the air for a powerbomb. Two count at 20:00.
Hunter reapplied the submission, and Reigns finally broke free, then launched Hunter over the top rope. Reigns returned to the ring and speared Hunter. But, when Reigns covered Hunter, Stephanie pulled the ref out of the ring. Steph then just casually walked into the ring and yelled at the referee. Steph just kind of hung out in the ring as the crowd made up their own chants. Reigns then charged Hunter and speared Stephanie when Hunter moved. Steph sold being KO’ed in the corner. Hunter then dropped Reigns with a Pedigree, but Reigns kicked out.
The match resumed with the fans singing Bayley’s song. Reigns then hit Hunter with a Superman Punch. The crowd booed. Reigns stalked Hunter for the big spear, but Hunter intercepted with a running knee to the face. Hunter covered Reigns for a two count. The match must continue.
Hunter rolled toward the ring apron, where a now-slightly KO’ed Stephanie managed to slip a sledgehammer to Hunter. The ref reprimanded him, but Reigns hit Hunter with the Superman Punch. Another one in the corner. The crowd booed as Reigns bounced the ropes, avoided a sledgehammer shot, and hit a spear. Reigns covered Hunter for the win.
WINNER: Reigns at 27:11 to capture the WWE Title. That was unbelievably long, flashing back to the previous Mania main event in Texas when Hunter and Randy Orton bored the crowd out of Reliant Stadium. The egos of the McMahon Family were on full display tonight and this was the cherry on top thinking anyone wanted to sit through this long of a main event with a limited mid-card babyface challenger in the key challenger role. Reigns in this role was an embarrassment. He’s so limited and it’s so obvious that it’s about getting over a pet project that would be laughed out of this spot in any other era other than the Three-Hour Raw Mid-Carder Era. (*1/2)
Post-match: WWE tried to find fans in the crowd happy for the result. Lots of thumbs down on the camera shot. Reigns received the title belt and caught his breath. Hunter and Steph disappeared, then Reigns got a big pyro celebration with his music playing over the boos. WWE cut to an exterior shot of AT&T Stadium’s pyro display over the parking lot. Back in the stadium, Reigns posed in the ring with the title belt. Cole plugged Reigns and Charlotte on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday morning. Cole signed off with a final shot of Reigns posing in the ring and Hunter selling in the corner of the ring. The PPV mercifully ended at 10:48 p.m. local time, a six hour and 48 minute event.
SOCIAL: Follow along with PWTorch Tweets throughout the show at Twitter.com/PWTorch/lists/Torch-Staff.
READER REAX: If you watch WM32, we’re looking for your Reax, 0-10 Score, and Best/Worst match sent to email@example.com.
LIVECAST: Join James Caldwell & Greg Parks for the post-game show Livecast at 11:30 p.m. EST at PWTorchLivecast.com.