Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Post-Wrestlemania Weekend Thoughts

I have read a number of mixed reviews about Wrestlemania this weekend. Most have been positive for the most part. I don't like focusing on the negative myself, so I'll keep most of my thoughts on what I did like about the weekend.

Unlike previous weekends, I didn't take multiple days off nor did I make sure to purchase as many events as I could watch. I actually kept my viewing to three shows and three shows only: Lucha Underground vs. Impact Wrestling, NXT Takeover: New Orleans and Wrestlemania itself. While Bloodsport and Spring Break 2 both sounded epic, I'll have to check them out some other time.

Lucha Underground vs. Impact Wrestling

Image credit: Impact Wrestling.

  • Impact Wrestling frequently gives away main event pay-per-view quality matches on television, so it's no surprise they did the same on Twitch on Friday night. The crossover event with the pay-per-view-less Lucha Underground made for some stellar battles. 
  • The weakest match of the night was probably Eli Drake and Brian Cage, and it was pretty solid. The announce team failed completely to cover the history of the two men. They have been tag team partners off and on for over a decade, but though Eli brought it up, it was ignored completely by Mathews and Striker.
  • Teddy Hart teaming with Scott Steiner is just plain weird. And the match itself felt out of place on the card that otherwise featured only crossover battles (even if some of the crossover stars are also Impact talents.)
  • The tag match between LAX and the team of The Mack and Killshot was a bit sloppy, but those four men went hard, probably far harder than they needed to at their place on the card. 
  • Eddie Edwards versus Jeremiah Crane was built pretty much as perfectly as an I Quit match at that point on the card could be built. This wasn't meant to be the end of the feud between Edwards and Callihan, so Don Callis ending things worked perfectly. These two have tons of chemistry and I honestly could watch this blood feud go on for several more months. 
  • The loss of Alberto El Patron made the main event three way a far stronger match than it probably would have been. Though Aries, Fenix and Pentagon didn't pull out their full stop arsenals, I suspect their rematch now scheduled for Redemption will be epic.
NXT Takeover: New Orleans

Image credit:
  • The card didn't have a bad match on it, but the opening bout really set the pace for a great night. While it does feel like EC3 and Ricochet's debuts were a bit wasted in the ladder match, it did everything it needed to do to make every man look like a million bucks.
  • The women's title match was the weakest on the card, but was far better than the last battle between Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon. I was very happy to see Ember appear on Monday night because a fourth match in this series is the last thing NXT needs. Both are talented in-ring competitors, but they just don't quite click against one another.
  • The tag match featured a bit in it that points out everything wrong with WWE booking. The Strong turn was a sensible move for The Undisputed Era, but  earlier in the match he attacked Kyle O'Reilly to keep him from getting the win. It made no sense for Strong to wait in order to betray Dunne if his true goal was to make sure Cole and O'Reilly retained.
  • I hoped Andrade "Cien" Almas might make his Smackdown debut on Tuesday night. He didn't, which means we have a rematch coming between him and Aleister Black. Almas has shown why he was hired in 2017 and I suspect a third match between him and Black will only deliver again.
  • Fight forever. Seriously, Gargano and Ciampa put on a great match and I hope the feud keeps going for a few more months.
  • The pre-show battle royals were messes, but I think Matt Hardy and Naomi were both good choices for the winners.
  • Mustafa Ali versus Cedric Alexander was good, but half of what their match a couple months ago on 205 Live was. They should have been given ten minutes and a chance to go all out.
  • If the opening match had set the tone for the night, I'd have enjoyed Wrestlemania a lot more. The triple threat was a great trainwreck of a match between the three men. They should keep their feud going for quite awhile longer in my opinion.
  • I can accept Asuka's streak ending at Charlotte's hand. I cannot accept it ending in only thirteen minutes. That match needed ten more minutes and it would have been talked about in the same breath as the two classic Sasha / Bayley NXT title matches.
  • I hope the mixed tag proved most of the Rousey nay-sayers wrong. She is far from perfect in the ring, but she seems to be a natural much like her Four Horsewomen stablemate Shayna. 
  • Daniel Bryan, Undertaker, and Nia Jax were all feel good moments, but I'm not sure why they were all on back to back. 
  • I predicted AJ versus Shinsuke would end with a turn, but I expected AJ to be honest. I think this feud isn't over yet by a long shot, but I feel Shinsuke needs a new CHAOS if he's going to make it as a major WWE heel.
  • Anyone that hated Nicholas Cone's tag title win hates fun. That's all I'll say about that match.
  • The main event deserved most of the chants it got. It was slow and plodding, but in the main event position, it ended exactly the way it should have ended.
Post-Wrestlemania debuts
  • I know Smackdown already has a packed roster, but they got three new talents on the roster versus the plethora Raw got. Paige, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are all perfect additions to Smackdown, but it's hard not to look at the show as WWE's b-product when Raw brought the return of Jeff Hardy and Lashley, plus the main roster debuts of Ember Moon, No Way Jose and the Authors of Pain. 
  • Smackdown should have seen either Andrade Almas or Sanity appear. Hopefully, Sanity will debut after the Usos / Bludgeon Brothers match.