Hi everyone, Bryan Here….
As I’m recovering from seven insane days of ‘Wrestlemania 32‘ in Dallas, TX., I’ve had time to reflect, contemplate, saturate, and regurgitate every I event I attended. I had my box of Booty O’s to make sure I wasn’t Booty thru the weekend, met some good people, watched some amazing matches, talked with some WWE Superstars, and lost my voice when Shane-O-Mac put his life on the line for the WWE Business. To quote a certain former WWE announcer, it was a slobberknocker of a week for sure that hit me in the solar plexus more times than I’d like to admit. WWE really did it up big this year for Wrestlemania 32. Not only did they put on several good shows, but they also broke records. There was over 101,000 people in attendance at AT&T Stadium for Wrestlemania 32, beating the previous record from Wrestlemania 3 by quite a bit. Not only that, ticket sales and merch sales were way up as well from previous years. It seems like WWE is growing exponentially with more and more fans tuning in every week. That’s a good thing. Instead of writing a recap of the entire weekend, I’ll give you some details of some of the cooler things I witnessed over the past week.
The Interviews at Reunion Tower
I was part of a small group of people that got to travel up the elevator to the iconic Reunion Ball and interview on camera a few of the WWE Superstars. This basically started the entire next few days of Wrestling. I got to talk with Stephanie McMahon once again, which is always nice to do, because she is on top of her game, funny, and always beautiful. I should note that each WWE Superstar was NOT in character, so it was fun to get the real-life persona of each wrestler and their hopes for the business and the event that is Wrestlemania 32.
Stephanie talked about her husband Triple H, some matches she’s looking forward to, and her favorite scenes in films. I also got to talk with John Cena, who was hilarious. He’s been injured for a while, but he was in town to promote the event and do some community service. He told me how much he loved Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and ‘The Wolf of Wall-Street‘. He also says he kinda misses his old rap battles and said he just got into his funny memes that have been making the waves on the internet as of lately.
Next up was Ric Flair and his daughter and current Women’s champion Charlotte. Ric gets a bit emotional, but the two had a great discussion with me about watching each other in the ring and performing to their best abilities, as well as some of their past matches and how they see the future of Women’s wrestling. Woooo. Chris Jericho stopped by and told me his most thrilling music moment, as well as his most thrilling wrestling moment. Love that guy.
The now Hall of Famer Sting came by without any makeup and seemed a little shy in front of the camera. Yes he wore his sunglasses on the whole time too and said he wanted to wrestle The Undertaker in his last match, which made big news everywhere, but he announced his retirement at Hall of Fame the next night. Go figure.
Then there was Roman Reigns, the current champion that everyone loves to Boo. Reigns in real life is a lot of fun and quite hilarious. I only wish WWE creative would let him be more like himself on television, because I think it would win him over more with the crowd who constantly boos him. He gave me his workout and training routine before big events as well as how he keeps his hair so mystical. He even through a few verbal jabs at Triple H, which had me laughing. It was a fun morning for sure and great to talk with everyone.
Random Wrestler Sightings
There was a ton of wrestling superstars in town for Wrestlemania 32 and it was fun to see some of them on the street walking by. Jeff Hardy was spotted in a hoodie, The Iron Sheik was being wheeled around, yelling at people, Jake the Snake was talking with people as he headed into the bathroom, and there was of course a VIRGIL sighting, wearing all white and complaining about meat sauce at Olive Garden. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. And no, there was no sign of Kurt Angle.
American Alpha defeated The Revival at NXT Takeover: Dallas
One of the first events of the whole week was NXT Takeover: Dallas. If you’re unfamiliar, NXT is the developmental brand of WWE where up and coming wrestlers work on their characters and moves in front of live audiences. Tons of WWE Superstars have started in NXT, including Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. NXT is on once a week on the WWE Network, but their PPV events are usually called ‘Takeover’ in some different city, which is where the NXT title belts usually change hands. The first televised event of the night was for the NXT Tag Team belt in which American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) to win the belt for the first time.
The crowd was so behind this match. There were constant cheers and chants, that there was almost no silence thru the entire 16 minute match. There were some high flying moves off the top rope and some synchronized suplexes that got the crowd on their feet. It was a fast-paced and fun match, which led to American Alpha’s victory. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were pretty emotional after their victory and thanked everyone. It was one of the better tag team matches I’ve seen in a while.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s 1st NXT match and Sami Zayn’s last NXT match
This match between Nakamura and Zayn might be in my top 10 matches of all time. I’ve watched it and Nakamura’s entrance more times than I’ve seen ‘The Godfather‘. A little background on this – Sami Zayn has been in NXT for quite some time and is known for being the heart and soul of the company. He is known for having insanely good matches and is not scared of flying over the top rope to defeat his opponent. He recently moved up to the main card in WWE, meaning he is on RAW and Smackdown now.
Former WWE Superstar William Regal (who’s in charge of NXT), decided to say “Thank You” to Zayn’s hard work in NXT by giving him a farewell match against the BEST wrestler who has ever lived. That is none other than Shinsuke Nakamura, who is from Japan and is the best champion from New Japan Pro Wrestling. If you don’t watch that, then you should subscribe to it. This marked Nakamura’s first match in the USA and in NXT. He has signed on with WWE for at least two years, and I expect him to rise high in the company very fast.
What makes Nakamura so AWESOME? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but perhaps most of all is his style of wrestling. He dresses in mostly red leather, walks with a bunch of swagger, smiles, winks, and is fairly flamboyant, as he taunts his opponents. Just watch his entrance video. He is also the master and king of Strong Style Wrestling, meaning a ton of strong knees and elbows to the face, head, stomach and back. He is a high flyer as well, and can take anyone of any size it seems. Since there was really no story line to this match, as in good vs evil type of thing, the crowd was just in awe of the entire thing.
There was even a “HOLY SHIT” chant for Nakamura’s entrance, before the wrestling even started. What transpired over the next 21 minutes was pure wrestling entertainment at its best. People flipped off the back rope, there were tons of brutal kicks and knees to the face, some finishing moves that were counted out, and a back and forth one-at-a-time punch fest between the two wrestlers, which the crowd got really into, and even received a standing ovation. This was by far my favorite match of the weekend and I can’t wait to see Nakamura shine in the company. Plus, one of the chants, which I’ve never heard until now by 10,000 people was “FIGHT FOREVER”! That says something.
Finn Balor’s Texas Chainsaw Entrance at NXT Takeover: Dallas
The current NXT Champion is Finn Balor, who is an Irish guy who dresses up as a demon in full body and face paint and comes out to one of the best entrances of all time. The entire crowd throws their hands in the air to the excellent music. Balor is known for making his entrance highly entertaining, depending on where he is, and since he was in Texas, he came out in a leather apron with a chainsaw to pay homage to ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘. The crowd ate it up and I was in NXT and horror heaven.
His match was against Samoa Joe, who is fantastic in the ring, however, in the first few seconds of the match, Balor busted Samoa Joe’s eye open and blood spilled out. Due to WWE and NXT being a PG family-friendly brand now, the refs stopped the fight numerous times to patch up Joe’s eye. It took away from the momentum of the match and the entire crowd of 10,000 people turned on NXT, chanting “FUCK PG”. It was still a good match, where Balor ended up retaining the title, but the match lost its steam due to the breaks to clean up the blood. This wouldn’t have happened a few years ago. I say, let them fight and bleed if they’re okay with it.
Triple Threat Match for the Women’s Championship Title at Wrestlemania 32
This match was just awesome at ‘Wrestlemania 32‘ and might have been the best match of the night. This triple threat match had three former NXT ladies, wrestling on the biggest stage of them all – Wrestlemania 32, for the championship title, which was held by Charlotte for a record number of days. Charlotte is also Ric Flair’s daughter, so the “heel” in her comes out full force. Sasha Banks is Snoop Dogg’s family member, and Snoop came out to sing her entrance song, as she walked out, wearing pants that paid tribute to her favorite wrestler – Eddie Guerrero. She even did a five-star frog splash during the match.
The third member was Becky Lynch, an Irish Gal who is part steampunk and all badass. These women took it to the next level, backflipping off the top rope to the floor, giving each other black eyes, and making each other bleed. They truly showed the strength and power that is the Women’s Champion. Low and behold, Ric Flair interfered of course, and won the belt for his daughter Charlotte. It was an amazing match.
Zack Ryder Winning the Intercontinental Championship in a 7-Man Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 32
Ladder matches are always quite fun. It shows just how crazy these WWE Superstars are willing to risk to win the belt and for our entertainment. They climb sometimes 20-feet into the air to grab the title belts that are suspended above the ring. The champion was Kevin Owens at the time, who is one of the best Bad Guys in the business right now. He is so much fun to watch. Then there is Zack Ryder, who really hasn’t had a push or really even been on television that match as of recently, but a lot of people like him.
Nobody, and I mean nobody had Zack Ryder winning this match and title. It was a total shock, as he’s really never won any belt before, but the crowd loved it. There were high-flying moves that broke ladders in half and bruised necks and ribs during this match. It got the crowd on its feet several times and then a huge cheer for when Ryder won the match. It was short lived though, as he lost the belt 24 hours later on Monday Night Raw to The Miz, cheating to win. I know I was screaming when Ryder won.
Shane-O-Mac vs Undertaker in Hell-in-a-Cell at Wrestlemania 32
This match never should have happened, but because of the bathtub full of injuries over the past few months, Vince McMahon brought back his son Shane to the business, who has been absent for almost a decade. What’s so special about Shane-O-Mac? Well, Shane is known for taking giant risks and huge spots over the years. He’s jumped from over 50 feet onto his opponent, went from coast-to-coast, delivering a powerful kick, going through tables, windows, and bleeding quite a bit.
He was always a lot of fun to watch and everyone loved him. Since a ton of big name stars were injured, Vince brought in his son with the angle that Shane wanted to finally take over the business, and blackmailed his dad into allowing it, but on one condition, that he had to fight Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32 in a Hell-in-a Cell, meaning a steel cage match that is locked from the outside. Did the story of the match make any sense? No, not really, but everyone was glad to see Shane back. And what did Shane do? Well he went from coast-to-coast on the Undertaker with a steel trash-can, and jumped off the top of the 20 foot cage onto a table, missing Undertaker entirely.
Undertaker tombstoned Shane for the win. For both wrestlers being between the ages of 45 and 60, this was a fast-paced and high impact match. It’s one of those iconic Wrestlemania moments they will air for years to come. I’m just glad I got to witness live and in person.
Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn ‘HBK’ Michaels, Mick Foley, and The Rock Attend Wrestlemania 32
After ‘The League of Nations‘ defeated ‘The New Day‘ at Wrestlemania, The League got on the mic and started talking smack on how they’re the best that ever was and that nobody could ever beat them. That’s when HBK, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold’s music played as the three headed to the ring. Now, these guys haven’t wrestled in a very long time, but have on and off cut promos on television.
Low and behold, we saw four Stone-Cold Stunners, the return of Mr. Socko, and some Sweet Chin Music. It was nostalgic and highly entertaining. When Stone Cold comes out, you can almost always expect everyone to get stunners. It’s just how it goes. There was even some beer chugging and some booty dancing with The New Day here. A little later on in the show, The Rock came out and told everyone that Wrestlemania 32 was the broke records. He even came out with a flame-thrower and lit of giant steel letters on fire that spelled ROCK.
As he was talking, Bray Wyatt and his family came to the ring and interrupted The Rock. Shockingly, The Rock ripped off his clothes and demanded a WRESTLEMANIA match, which we got. It was awesome, however short lived as the match only lasted six seconds. We basically just got to see The Rock deliver his People’s elbow and Rock Bottom finisher. Still, always fun to see The Rock.
Shane-O-Mac Runs Monday Night Raw
The opening of Monday Night Raw, the day after Wrestlemania was fantastic. The Raw after Wrestlemania is usually the biggest of the year and the crowd is always insane. Well, Vince McMahon came out and talked about the success of Wrestlemania. He went on to talk about his son Shane’s match with the Undertaker, where if Shane won, he would gain control of RAW.
Well, Shane did NOT win, and therefore, didn’t think he’d show up, but as Vince was saying how crazy yet focused his son is, Shane’s music played and he came out to a standing ovation. He basically thanked the crowd and said his goodbye, but then Vince yelled, “Nobody upstages me”, and let Shane run RAW for the foreseeable future. It’s what everyone wants and what a nice way to end the WWE Wrestlemania 32 week.
As a while, Wrestlemania 32 wasn’t an excellent event. Usually, Wrestlemania is at the most 4 hours long. This one, including the “dark matches” lasted over six. It was too long and bloated. Not only that, the main event of the night was 30 minutes long and very boring between Triple H and Roman Reigns. The crowd was definitely not into it. The other match that people disliked was the supposed street fight between Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar. The match lasted 13 short minutes and was barely a no-holds-barred street fight at all. Nothing really happened or could happen, because of the PG family-friendly rating they have. So there was just some suplexes and a chair shot or two. People were upset and didn’t care for it. That being said, the whole experience was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to attend next year’s Wrestlemania in Orlando, Florida.
– Bryan Kluger