6 Observations from a Casual Fan’s First WrestleMania

wrestleMania-32

Over the last year, I’ve become interested in pro wrestling, or “sports entertainment,” if you will.

Yes, I know it’s fake. The athleticism, however, is not, and frankly that’s what impresses me most about it. Plus, despite the storylines being fake, it doesn’t mean most of them aren’t fun to watch. Also, gimmicks.

This weekend was WrestleMania, the WWE’s version of the Super Bowl. After missing the first 31 WrestleMania shows, I decided it was time for me to make the 32nd installment my very first one.

As someone who is a relative newbie / casual WWE fan, here are some of my super casual observations from wrestling’s big night:

1. I saw a guy jump 20 stories onto a table and he didn’t die

The match between Shane-O-Mac and The Undertaker was  one I had been semi-prepared for. I actually saw the Monday Night Raw where Shane McMahon crashed a big McMahon Love Fest to proclaim that he wanted control of RAW. Papa Vince McMahon said fine, he could have Raw… if Shane defeated The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell Match at WrestleMania.

To me, the match was one old guy getting the snot kicked out of him by another old (albeit huge, intimidating) guy in an oversized cage. The Undertaker won the match handily, but not before this happened:

What? Why? AND HE STILL WANTED TO KEEP FIGHTING, EVEN THOUGH HE WAS BARELY CONSCIOUS/MOBILE? I don’t know whether to give Shane props, but, Christ. At the time, I immediately thought of this:

Oh, and The Undertaker won, which means Raw will still suck, according to the netizen consensus. I later learned that The Undertaker now has a 23-1 record at WrestleMania, and that’s including a 21-match win streak. So.

2. The guy most everyone hates won the main event

I don’t know much about Roman Reigns, except that most people think he’s crap and that he has the mic skills of a rotted tree stump. Still, it doesn’t seem to stop the WWE from pushing him into the spotlight.

In last night’s Main Event, Roman Reigns took on HHH for the WWE Championship. Amid a storm of boos — which were usually immediately cut out of the television feed thanks to audience mics being lowered — Reigns defeated the former champion for the title.

I remember seeing Roman Reigns in Dublin last year (during my first live event!), where he defeated Big Show. He wasn’t really received that warmly then, either. Now it just seems worse than ever, and he’s clearly not going anywhere for a while. I don’t understand it, but I guess I’m not alone in that.

3. I love me some New Day

At that show in Dublin, I first saw The New Day. Nobody liked them, and 3 Arena was filled with “New…Day Sucks!” chants. But at some point there was a huge turnaround for this trio, which I missed, and now everyone loves them. Including me.

I mean, look at this:

And they are dressed like Super Saiyans. The anime geek in me approves.

Unfortunately, The New Day were bested  by the League of Nations, who were subsequently defeated by Hall of Famers (and guys even I’ve heard of before) Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, and Shawn Michaels.

(Fun fact: Shawn Michaels received an award at my university in the early 2000s. I got a photo with him, despite not really knowing who he was. Nice guy, though. But I digress.)

4. The Diva’s Women’s Championship match was great…until that cheap ending

Lots of fans lauded the women’s Triple Threat match as the evening’s best, and I am inclined to agree. It helped that I was already a big fan of Becky “The Lass Kicker” Lynch and Sasha “Legit Bo$$ / Snoop Dogg’s Cousin” Banks. (Sasha gets extra points from me for being a Sailor Moon fan, no lie. I do have an anime bias.) I would have been happy to see either Sasha or Becky win the title from reigning champ Charlotte.

But then Ric Flair pulled this cheap crap to prevent Sasha from overtaking Charlotte, who ultimately forced Becky to tap out, thus allowing Charlotte to retain. Ugh ugh UGH, damn you, Ric Flair.

Still a fun match to watch.

5. Shaq was there?

Yes, Shaq was there. He lost. Shaq-fu failed him, and all of us who believed in him.

6. Brock Lesnar is one huge chunk of a person

That’s not really meaningful, but I felt it had to be said.


So, did I enjoy my first WrestleMania?

Sure, it was a good time, despite several letdowns. I should note that I didn’t have an opportunity to watch the entire thing. ( I missed the IC Title match with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, for instance. Baw. I guess I’ll catch up on it, despite knowing they both lose.)

I feel like next time, I should watch WrestleMania with friends who are more well-versed in wrestling lore than I am. It seems like the type of program that’s best enjoyed with a group, even if we ultimately end up hate-watching a bulk of the segments.

But wait, there’s more…

Friday night, I indulged in what was the starter to WrestleMania’s main course, NXT Takeover Dallas.

This was an instance in which the appetizer was so satisfying that I could have easily passed on most of the entree. NXT Takeover Dallas was that incredible. Matches ranged from “good” to “freakin’ awesome.” It also didn’t last seven hours.

It’s hard to pick just one thing I enjoyed about Takeover — it’s probably worth a post of its own — so I’ll just leave this here. #YeaOH.

I will admit to being much more familiar with NXT than the Main Roster. For one, I watch NXT almost every week. And why not? It’s great. However, I think that even if I didn’t follow NXT as closely as I do, I still would have felt the same after this weekend. And then I’d start to watch NXT every week.

The Monday Question:

What stood out to you most at WrestleMania 32? Share your thoughts in the comments. Maybe I’ll even learn a thing or two.

Until next Monday!

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