A few years ago WWE held their latest WrestleMania out of their Performance Center in Florida. The show, unlike any other (until next month’s Money in the Bank at least), was different in presentation but was a welcome distraction from everything else going on out there - clearly this is the one and only reason WWE got deemed an “essential business” in Florida. Now that we’ve escaped quarantine (Quixotine? Trademark pending!) for a few minutes, let’s take a look back at WWE WrestleMania 36, now with 300% more lasers. It may look like a Saturday Night Live skit, but remember - this is Florida.
If you want to see the replay, you’ll want to subscribe to the WWE Network. Until then, here’s your Quixotronic review of the show.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles Match: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “...but Nikki wants to play and Bliss needs to be sacrificed. Upon realigning Nikki to her true form as her crazy fantastic NXT self, you get an instant new title threat to Naomi’s new title, a new ready to reprove herself Alexa Bliss. Also, Asuka and Kairi Sane get to hold onto their belts.”
And now the conclusion: The match started solid with what we can only describe as an “cute off” between Alexa Bliss and Kairi Sane in which we as the audience all won. Asuka soon joined in bouncing all around. Bullpen member Tim said “They need a show where it’s just Asuka dancing. Like the Ellen Show, but with Asuka” and hopefully we’ll be seeing that soon on the WWE Network because what else are we really doing? While the Kabuki Warriors were pretty dominant throughout the match, Bliss and Cross got the win.
As much as I still want them to follow through with the original “Alexa is pretending to be Nikki’s friend” story line with it actually being Nikki pulling all the strings, WWE only seems to care about the women’s tag belts if Alexa Bliss is holding them. As a Bliss fan I’m okay with that. Maybe we can let Asuka/Kairi Sane and Shayna Bazsler work together for awhile simply kicking the shit out of each other for our enjoyment?
Your Winners, and NEW WWE Women Tag Team Champions: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
Fanboy Prediction Score: 0-1
Baron Corbin vs Elias
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Elias goes for a guitar shot on Corbin, he “misses” and hits Gronk, Mojo slides in to look after his friend, and the two both get beat down by a Corbin/Elias team-up.”
And now the Conclusion: Elias returned up and was full of beans again. The two had a basic Smackdown-level match - Corbin tried to use the ropes but Elias was able to reverse it into a roll up for the big EmptyMania win.
I was happy to see Elias get the win and get revenge for Kurt Angle losing to Corbin last year. Not that that had anything to do with this match, I’m just saying. Otherwise this was a simple match that probably would have worked better in front of a crowd more so than others. And sadly I think we’re stuck with Elias as a good guy for a while still.
Your Winner: Elias
Fanboy Prediction Score: 1-1
WWE Raw Women’s Title Match: Shayna Baszler vs Becky Lynch ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “The bell rings, Shayna Two-Time locks time choke hold, Becky passes out, new champion. And it should take as long as that sentence.
And now the Conclusion: Once this match popped up as third overall instead of being the main event of night one, the entire bullpen called it: Lynch was retaining her title. She arrived in a goddamn truck which would have been fan-fucking-tastic in a full Tampa Bay arena, but oh well. The match was fairly even and aggressive with Lynch scoring the win.
The sadness that took over the Quixo bullpen when the match began said it all: we were all ready for Baszler to take the gold from Lynch’s bloody dead hands. After the show I wasn’t sure who exactly they’d send Lynch’s way next other than the obvious give-the-loser-a-rematch which I hate, but maybe Nia Jax is now being set up as a powerhouse for Lynch, though I don’t see her beating Becky either? Of course Quixo-favorite Bianca Belair is now on Raw also so there may still be hope? (Spoilers: there is no hope.)
Your Winner: Becky Lynch
Fanboy Prediction Score: 2-1 (I honestly forgot I predicted Lynch to win…)
WWE Intercontinental Title Match: Daniel Bryan vs Sami Zayn ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “In the end, Zayn can get the pin to retain and escape with his title.
And now the Conclusion: Four matches in we finally got a cut back to Gronk and Mojo up in the balcony watching the show - how were they not announcing the thing in full-MST3K mode? The match started with promising shenanigans on Zayn’s part as he kept leaving the ring to frustrate Bryan. Cesaro and Nakamura also got into fisticuffs with Gulak, so it was a family affair. After Zayn was finally kept in the ring, the two had a fun little match that ended with Bryan accidentally jumping face first into a Helluva Kick from Zayn.
This was a solid match as to be expected - great facial expressions from everyone involved, which I feel is a very under appreciated quality in a match. Hopefully the fact that Zayn is now both 1) the Intercontinental Champion and thus presumed #1 contender to the Universal title and b) pinned the man who is now Universal Champion (spoilers) literally last month, will lead to some top title opportunities for Sami Zayn as well as Cesaro and Nakamura by association. Not that they all had a good story line or anything, but Zayn, Cesaro, and Nakamura in matches with the top title on the line?
Your Winner: Sami Zayn
Fanboy Prediction Score: 3-1
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles Match: New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) vs John Morrison & The Miz ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Usos get the belts and move on the feud with Dolph/Roode who are now free out of their feud with Heavy Machinery, New Day slides into the Intercontinental title scene because I want them to win and all defend a belt under the Freebird rules, and Miz and Morrison enter a hard hitting feud like they should have in the first place.
And now the Conclusion: So this got changed to a singles three-way ladder match for the tag team titles because that makes sense. Kingston, Jimmy, and Morrison get the ladders in quick and start having fun with them. Kofi kicks the other two through one ladder, Morrison walks across the ropes and flips Kofi, it’s all good stuff. We end with all three getting to the belts at the same time and Morrison winning due to falling with the belts.
Not that all the matches weren’t hurt by no audience, but ladder matches are especially odd without an audience. However, these three did a hell of a job. Perhaps after Otis’s big win (spoilers) that’ll earn Heavy Machinery some much needed Momentum (™) to give them a program with the champs next while New Day and the Usos continue to have great matches together.
Your Winner(s?): John Morrison (and The Miz)
Fanboy Prediction Score: 4-1
Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “We set up Rollins still as the cult-leader heel, Owens still as the every-man face, and Joe as the killer tweener who hates both.”
And now the Conclusion: Rollins opened the match by looking extra Messiah-like and spent much of the match loudly proclaiming himself to be a god. Not the god, I don’t think. We got an early DQ win for Owens after Rollins attacked him with the ring bell. However Owens was able to get Rollins to agree to a No-DQ match instead and the two continued. Owens then gifted us with our first actual WrestleMania Moment (™) when he climbed the WrestleMania sign and hit Rollins with a big elbow.
This was a great match that may have actually been better (?) for being able to hear Rollins berate Owens and repeat he was a god throughout the match. And of course Owens winning was a pleasure. Unfortunately it looks like Rollins, despite his loss, is being set up as Drew McIntyre’s first program (spoilers) so I don’t know where that leaves Owens outside of his Moment - hopefully Samoa Joe will be back for some murder love?
Your Winner: Kevin Owens
Fanboy Prediction Score: 5-1
WWE Universal Title Match: Roman Reigns Braun Strowman vs Goldberg ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Without an opponent, [Goldberg] issues an open challenge for the title. This brings out: Drake Maverick. Goldberg and Roman both looked shocked and amused until Strowman attacks both from behind, throws them both out of the ring, and then flips the fucking ring over on top of them. It’s the natural conclusion to Braun-throws-shit-around-like-nothing. At EmptyMania, Goldberg is still visibly banged while Braun comes to the ring with his new manager on his shoulders. Goldberg tries for a spear and bounces off Braun. They do a minute of back and forth and Goldberg is able to hit his second spear attempt and Braun drops just long enough to get hooked into a Jackhammer but Goldberg can’t lift him. Braun laughs, slams Goldberg down, and gets a quick pin.”
And now the Conclusion: I have three words in my notes for this match: “short shitty match.” The good is that Braun is finally champ (2 years too late?) and Goldberg is finally not champ (how was this his 2nd WrestleMania going in a champ in the last 4 years?). The bad is that this was the match in the first place. At least Reigns/Goldberg made sense though they didn't need the title. It looks like the Fiend is coming back for his title so we should get some fun playing up the history between Braun and Bray right away. Unfortunately the recent budget cuts that have since hit WWE have killed any hope I had of teaming Braun with Drake Maverick (or even EC3 as a fun trio) as Maverick and EC3 are both now gone from WWE. Perhaps we can go the dark route instead, have the Fiend turn Braun and bring him back into the fold, and now the Fiend controls the champ? It would be a touch more interesting than Bray just getting the title right back even though that’s probably what should happen.
Your Winner, and NEW WWE Universal Champion: Braun Strowman
Fanboy Prediction Score: 6-1
Boneyard Match: AJ Styles vs The Undertaker
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Undertaker should then get help from Kane and Aleister Black to first bury Anderson and Gallows followed up by a tombstone into the grave by Taker to bury the OC. Undertaker then gives Aleister the urn of power before he and Kane ride off on Taker’s motorcycle off into the sunset. I want Kane in a sidecar with fire painted on it.”
And now the Conclusion: Did you know that you can turn a wrestling match into a movie? Not that Lucha Underground was doing that a few years ago but WWE just figured it out and guys - this was awesome. After AJ Styles did a fake out entrance in a coffin, we were greeted with the best Undertaker: American Bad ass Undertaker, now with 30% extra Metallica for his entrance theme. They had a nice slow burn fight - the Good Brothers showed up while they still could only to get punked by Undertaker, there were druids, and the Undertaker literally buried Styles for the win.
Surprisingly there were no cameos by any Undertaker allies to counter Anderson and Gallows, but I guess you don’t really need to even the odds when Undertaker is here to play. The match was well thought out and well shot and honestly re-energized the idea of Undertaker matches in modern times. Does this mean we could actually get some form of Undertaker vs Sting match now? Perhaps. However I would love more to see Undertaker enter the Firefly Funhouse next to get a full overview of his 30 year career. If there’s any character who could theoretically defeat the Fiend in his own house, it’d be Big Evil.
Your Winner: The Undertaker
Fanboy Prediction Score: 7-1
NXT Women’s Title Match: Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Ripley surprises Flair with the win - let’s even go with a quick schoolboy pin for added shock. Afterwards, and not before, Flair tries to use the title belt to attack Ripley only to be attacked by Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai, and however many NXT women’s division members we can safely sneak in here to show once again that Flair does not attend NXT.
And now the Conclusion: Well fuck. Okay, this was at least a good match - both got a lot of offense in, there were plenty of pin attempts, but after a while you could tell Flair was simply playing with her food. She kicked out of Ripley’s Riptide far too early in the match which gave the Quixo bullpen a bad feeling about the outcome. Flair finally hit the Figure 8 to take the title.
This was easily my least favorite outcome of the whole card, even if I picked it - I hate the idea of Flair being the NXT Women’s Champion. While I like having a few “main roster” players head back to NXT, it should be reserved for wrestlers that need a new coat of paint. Flair does not need that. Plus, Ripley was still riding high after de-throwning Shayna Baszler, and now may have to head back to Australia on an expired visa based on some rumors. Hopefully Io Shirai or Candice LeRae will take care of this problem as soon as possible.
Your Winner, and NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
Fanboy Prediction Score: 8-1
Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Black disposes of Lashley quickly and heads into a title program with Andrade that plays on their NXT history.”
And now the Conclusion: Black came out with a lovely new WrestleMania cloak, as you do, while Lashley also showed up. We here at Quixotronic take our wrestling attire seriously and it pains us all that this is the first outfit we are calling attention to on a WrestleMania card - we’re on night two! Oh, and after some miscommunication between Lashley and Lana, Black hit the Black Mass for the win.
Black looks like he should be moving on to good things - he’ll be in next month’s Money in the Bank match and could be a solid contender to win. I haven’t been feeling Lana as much with Lashley as a team as much as I enjoyed Lashley teaming with Lio Rush, though Rush (along with Rusev) were among the performers let go after WrestleMania so Lashley and Lana may be stuck with each other for the time being.
Your Winner: Aleister Black
Fanboy Prediction Score: 9-1
Dolph Ziggler vs Otis Dozovic
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Otis wins and steaks drop from the sky. We are then treated to multiple segments through the rest of EmptyMania simply showing Otis and Tucky grilling and enjoying said steaks while hilariously trying to social distance.”
And now the Conclusion: This was fun! Otis, representing us all both emotionally and physically, gyrated his way to smash the ever living crap out of Dolph. Deville tried to block, but Otis persisted. Mandy Rose showed up to attack Ziggler herself, Otis got the pin, and Otis even got the girl!
So in my preview, I had apparently missed the fact that Deville had been revealed as cock blocking Mandy and Otis’s love. Oh well! Otis, and thus all of us, won and true love exists.
Your Winner: Otis Dozovic
Fanboy Prediction Score: 9-2
Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs Randy Orton
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “This match can go as long as it wants. Fight forever guys.
And now the Conclusion: I didn’t realize how right I would be about “fight forever” - not that it was bad, but a brutal last man standing match with little to no sound beyond the grunts and slaps of the performers is a touch of a downer. Edge and Orton put on a great match, it was just hurt by the lack of an audience and too quiet for too long announcers. There was mood lighting throughout the Performance Center that made it different from Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa’s brawl through the PC on NXT a few days before and they even fought onto a truck. Speaking of DIY, there were even emotions from both men at various times when they each had to fight feelings when nearly murdering their opponent. Most of their stuff was during my dark period (roughly 2006-2016) but did Edge and Orton walk so Gargano and Ciampa could run? I’ll have to look some of their stuff up on the Network. But back to my original point: this match would have been perfect with an audience.
Your Winner: Edge
Fanboy Prediction Score: 10-2
WWE Raw Tag Team Titles Match: Angel Garza & Austin Theory vs The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Profits get the pin on Theory and then completely sell celebrating with the crowd in the middle of an empty arena. Garza and Vega ditch Theory and he goes back to NXT for more Ciampa beat downs.”
And now the Conclusion: I think I liked this match but wrote literally no notes so hooray the Profits won! And Bianca Belair debuted to join her husband on Raw! As for the team of Garza and Theory - they look like far more of a permanent thing than anyone gave them credit for as it looks like Zelina Vega is officially managing both them and Andrade in a full blown stable. With the Club now being a thing of the past (not that WWE ever took them seriously), perhaps we can get a stable that means something finally. Let Andrade hold the WWE United States title throughout the summer while McIntyre deals with obvious World title contenders like Rollins before getting into a program with Andrade and Aleister Black. I want these three in a World title program and I want it to simmer throughout the year. Hell, these three could be a potential World title match at WrestleMania 37.
Your Winners: The Street Profits
Fanboy Prediction Score: 11-2
WWE Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Lacey Evans vs Naomi vs Sasha Banks vs Tamina vs Bayley ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Working with what we’ve got, I’d give the nod to Naomi with having her pin Sasha… with Bayley/Sasha shuffled back to the currently non-existent tag team division, for the time being, Naomi can settle in to rebuild the division.
And now the Conclusion: Despite my booking, I ended up correct with my official pick of Bayley retaining. They did it correctly by having everyone dog pile pin Tamina to quickly eliminate her from the match - though has Tamina ever been a legitimate threat? Was that really needed based on what we’ve been presented? Sasha surprisingly taps out Naomi only to get a Woman’s Right to be eliminated by Evans. The teased Lacey pulling it out but Sasha returned to help Bayley retain.
I still wish they’d rebuild the tag team division with Bayley and Sasha and having them not fight over the singles belt is not helping this. Naomi was eliminated too early and I still feel like Lacey hasn’t improved enough - she was far better in NXT where she was surrounded by others who were learning.
Your Winner: Bayley
Fanboy Prediction Score: 12-2
Firefly Funhouse Match: Bray Wyatt vs John Cena
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Wyatt finally sits down, Thanos style, content with his win.”
And now the Conclusion: Holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit holy shit. If you haven’t already watched this match, go back and watch it right now. I’ll wait.
Holy shit!!! This may have been the most amazing piece of cinema WWE has and likely will ever do. Bray Wyatt mentally, emotionally, and finally physically defeated John Cena and gave us an amazing tour through Cena’s history, their shared history, and even a bit of WWE’s overall history. I’m going to be honest here - I cannot do this match justice and I will simply recommend you checkout Uproxx’s breakdown of the match found here.
This firmly took Cena off the table for the foreseeable future if not forever, and the Fiend is realigned as a boss-level monster. If Vince let’s them ever do this again, it’s just crying out to invite Undertaker in around Survivor Series time for his 30-year anniversary killing.
Your Winner: Bray Wyatt
Fanboy Prediction Score: 13-2
WWE World Title Match: Drew McIntyre vs Brock Lesnar ©
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic: “Mimicking the Royal Rumble, one of the Claymores knocks Lesnar right out of the ring. McIntyre slides out after Lesnar. Heyman tries to distract McIntyre while Lesnar starts to get back in the ring, but McIntyre then leaps off one of the broadcast booths and Claymores Lesnar back into the ring. I’m not sure if this is physically possible, but let’s go with it. Then McIntyre throws Heyman into the ring, Claymores both, and pins Lesnar for the title.”
And now the Conclusion: Brock hit a few F5’s, McIntyre hit a few more Claymores, and Drew is your new WWE World Champion.
I wanted this match to be so much more. I’ve enjoyed McIntyre since he came back to WWE, both in his NXT run and his current run on Raw. I missed his original run with WWE but that’s okay - he’s amazing now. What I wish they could have given us as the main event of a two-night WrestleMania was for the match to have started out as it did, but for McIntyre to force Lesnar to actually have a multi-move wrestling match on his terms. They’re closer in power than Brock’s last batch of opponents and it should shock him that he has to work for something. With it all being pre-taped, not that I think he actually needs it, but pepper in a bunch of breaks and pause the camera if you have to. We’ve seen people kick out of multiple F5’s before (Reigns, Rollins), but when was the last time we force Lesnar to actually wrestle? Rollins along with losing opponents such as Rey Mysterio, Ricochet, AJ Styles, or Daniel Bryan, because of their size-difference, were always going to be booked into simply trying to survive. Reigns had similar matches to this, but McIntyre (I think?) is even closer to being even bigger than Lesnar and we should have worked with that. However, I’m happy for McIntyre and I look forward to a lengthy title run with him as champ, especially whenever we get back to normal.
Your Winner, and NEW WWE World Champion: Drew McIntyre
Fanboy Prediction Score: 14-2
That’s it for WWE WrestleMania 36. Thanks for not only coming back but for waiting for this review. We’ll be back in a few weeks with a preview and (eventual?) review of WWE Money in the Bank assuming it really happens. It looks like it is right now but who knows even in a few weeks. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe on Facebook and follow https://www.quixotronic.com/ for more questionable content.