Special Event: Wrestlemania 39: WrestleMania Goes Hollywood (Nights 1 & 2)
April 1, 2023 9:06 AM - Subscribe

The Showcase of the Immortals, The Grandest Stage of All... and the first 'Mania that wasn't booked by serial-abuser Vince McMahon. Pro-wrestling biggest night comes once again, and WWE's biggest storyline by far is Roman Reigns and the Bloodline, their place at the head of the table now under assault by an alliance of friends-turned-enemies-turned-friends-again and a returning prodigal son (all of them former Ring of Honor champions, by the way).

The announced card order:

Night 1
1) Austin Theory (c) vs. John Cena -- WWE United States Championship Match
2) Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul
3) Trish Stratus, Lita, and Becky Lynch vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky) -- Six-woman tag team match
4) Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis) vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar) -- Fatal four-way tag team showcase
5) Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio -- Father vs. Son Grudge Match
6) Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley -- WWE SmackDown Women's Championship Match
7) The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn -- Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Night 2
1) Gunther (c) vs. Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre -- Triple threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
2) Edge vs. "The Demon" Finn Bálor -- Hell in a Cell match
3) Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya and Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler vs. Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville -- Women's Fatal four-way tag team showcase
4) Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka -- WWE Raw Women's Championship
5) Brock Lesnar vs. Omos
6) Roman Reigns (c) vs. "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes -- Undisputed WWE Universal Championship Match
posted by The Pluto Gangsta (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Etrigan at 10:25 AM on April 1

Find someone who loves you as much as Ilja Dragunov hates JD McDonagh, or the ground, or his own skeleton, or subtle acting...
posted by Etrigan at 11:14 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Whoops, I did completely forget to plug NXT into this post as well.

Etrigan, right this moment I’m living through you, because I won’t be able to watch tonight live due to an ongoing family situation.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 11:52 AM on April 1

I won't spoil the rest then, but...was it just me, or was Melo straight-up winning the "Boo! Yay!" exchange?
posted by Etrigan at 12:39 PM on April 1

I guarantee you that WWE put out feelers in the LA classical music scene for "Conductor of entrance music" and this guy was like "I will pay you ten thousand dollars. Okay, twenty."
posted by Etrigan at 6:00 PM on April 1

Managed to make it home to see most of Night 1. Not a bad match yet! I guess the only surprise finish for me so far was the 6-women tag match, I thought for sure it would end with Trish and Lita fighting with each other one more time.

The Lita fanboy in me from back in the 90s couldn’t help but notice that Lita’s gear evokes her old “show the thong” tease by having the thong literally painted on the small of her back.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:30 PM on April 1

Also Corey referred to Kevin and Sami making a name for themselves “out in Reseda”, which is the closest he’ll ever come to acknowledging PWG.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:32 PM on April 1

No wait, Michael Cole actually uttered the name “El Generico”… what the hell is happening here?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:42 PM on April 1

I was wondering whether that was the first time Generico’s ever been mentioned on WWE TV.
posted by Etrigan at 8:58 PM on April 1

I agree that none of the scheduled matches were bad. The SD Women's Championship and Tag Team Championship matches coulda been a few minutes shorter each, but that's just WM for you.

I'm more convinced than I have been this whole year that Roman's going to retain. We got the crowd-pleasing endings on six of the eight matches, and I wouldn't necessarily say that Rhea was the unpopular winner of one of the other two.
posted by Etrigan at 9:09 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]

I go back-and-forth between “Roman will lose tomorrow“ and “Roman will beat Sammartino’s record”. Because honestly, if Cody doesn’t take it from him, there’s really no one left other than Dwayne whenever his schedule permits.

I think it could still be done, as long as tomorrow night’s main event is distinct from tonight’s. Like, Kevin and Sami had all the emotional momentum going in, Cody doesn’t really have that, so his match against Roman should just be a full out war. There’s gonna be blood, there’s going to be teeth, Romans going to try to re-injure Cody’s pectoral. Maybe, just maybe, he gets betrayed by Solo Sikoa.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:15 PM on April 1

I have a theory. I've been reading the AEW posts here (thanks for posting, I'm at work when they are on) and I have not seen a certain name mentioned in at least a few weeks.

So imagine, Cody is on the brink of victory when Dustin shows up and attacks him, Cody wins via DQ, so he can't take the belt, and the brothers feud for a few months. Then Cody gets the title, from Roman or whoever. Doing a storyline where Dustin is all like "I DESERVE TO BE THE ONE" for a while...

And just maybe he drops the cage from the hell in a cell match down and traps Cody in there, outnumbered? Has that ever been done before?
posted by vrakatar at 9:58 PM on April 1

I’m told by someone who stayed up late last night to watch the press conference post show that KO and SZ shouted out Jay and Mark Briscoe during their post interview "We wouldn't be here without them. I hope this made them both proud" 😭
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 4:23 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

Hell In A Cell match was mid tbh.

If Rhea Ripley is a champion and everyone else in Judgment Day is a loser, does this mean it's time to break up the faction or just refashion it into a Rhea-centered affair? Didn't Alexa Bliss used to have a men's tag team as her valets back in NXT?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:39 PM on April 2

And WWE buries the Rhodes Family one last time. Pay attention, potential AEW defectors.

I don't get it. I don't get why the Fed thinks that having these hollow victories where Roman looks weaker and weaker every time he needs four other people's help is good for business.

Eventually somehow those belts will get off Roman, but it will never be as good an opportunity as tonight.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:41 PM on April 2 [1 favorite]

Well, here's the other fucking shoe dropping, friends:

WWE agrees to merge with UFC to create a new company run by Ari Emanuel and Vince McMahon
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:33 AM on April 3

Eventually somehow those belts will get off Roman, but it will never be as good an opportunity as tonight.

The only way this storyline could have ended since he unified the belts is with Roman laying them in the middle of the ring and walking away.
posted by Etrigan at 7:49 AM on April 3

The only way this storyline could have ended since he unified the belts is with Roman laying them in the middle of the ring and walking away.

You don't feel like they had their natural chance with Sami? I mean I guess if they don't want a Sami solo championship run (make it make sense!!!!!!) then fine, but to me, there's no question putting the belts on Sami at home would have taken Roman out of the picture in a narratively satisfying way.

Or, as noted above, maybe Roman's just waiting to smell what the Rock is cooking. But he might be waiting awhile and meanwhile he just loses more steam with every match. They might just be so wedded to that clash of the titans concept that they can't see their way out of it.

Anyway the match itself wasn't a bad one and honestly I didn't wanna put up with a Cody victory but they sucked the life right out of the crowd with that shit.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:02 PM on April 3

(Match of the night was Gunther/Seamus/McIntyre, with Bianca/Asuka a close second. I love Bianca as champ but just selfishly want Asuka to get her own title run with crowds present; she was so wasted on those empty arenas.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:04 PM on April 3

The only way this storyline could have ended since he unified the belts is with Roman laying them in the middle of the ring and walking away.

You don't feel like they had their natural chance with Sami?

The problem with that is that it doesn't end the storyline. If Sami beats Roman in Quebec, then the Tribal Chief (the character) has to get that win back. He cannot give up and slink away after someone beats him. He cannot move to another feud. He does that, and this whole thing was just another "LOL Cena wins", and I don't think he or Vince or Paul or... um... other Paul wanted to do that. They coulda done "LOL Roman wins" without the Bloodline, without the Honorary Uce, without any of this. No, this storyline has to end with Roman, for lack of a better word, reigning and ending it on his terms.

Will it? Eh. Maybe. Vince could easily get cold feet and hotshot the belts off him in London or for an extra $100M in Riyadh or a year from now in Philadelphia because NBC wants a crossover with Young Rock. But now, especially now, after not pulling the trigger on Sami or Cody, that won't satisfy even the people who were pissed last night.
posted by Etrigan at 1:46 PM on April 3

I guess I don't see why the end of a storyline (Roman's championship run) needs to also be the end of like, Roman entirely. To my mind-- I would LOVE to watch Roman lose his everloving mind after losing to Sami, have the Bloodline disintegrate into internecine war, and each individual Bloodline member come after Sami like the hounds of hell. I don't trust WWE to write that anyway though, I guess.

Not to say that the "resign the belts and Incredible Hulk away" plan isn't ... fine, because it would be, but like...it's fine if it happens this year, less so if they drag this out indefinitely.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 4:21 PM on April 3

posted by Etrigan at 5:23 PM on April 3

As soon as they made the match I said They're gonna make Cody into the new Sting, aren't they...
posted by Etrigan at 7:53 PM on April 3

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