WrestleMania 32 was billed as the biggest event in WWE history.
Technically, it was, seeing as how it set an all-time attendance record (101,763) and became the company’s highest grossing live event ever ($17.3 million). But some would argue this year’s WrestleMania at AT&T Stadium failed to live up to expectations in terms of entertainment value.
What went right? What went wrong? Let’s assess.
Zack Ryder defeated Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Sin Cara in a six-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship
Liked: This match featured several entertaining high-risk moves, which is typical of a six-man ladder match. It also included in-match suspense that culminated with a shocking victory. A cool match/moment to start the show.
Disliked: Everything felt discombobulated at times, mostly because there was no rhyme or reason to the competitors involved. This match was centered on the developing Owens-Zayn rivalry and featured spare parts tossed in. One of those spare parts won, sure, but how long can we realistically expect Ryder to be a player in the IC title picture?
Chris Jericho defeated A.J. Styles
Liked: It featured two good workers and multiple late kick-outs, making for an energetic atmosphere that probably made the match seem better than it really was.
Disliked: Jericho winning makes zero sense to me. Styles has been over big time with the WWE Universe since debuting at the Royal Rumble, yet WWE stifled his momentum by having him lose to an aging part-timer — the same aging part-timer who lost to Fandango at WrestleMania XXIX.
League of Nations defeated The New Day
Liked: The New Day had an awesome entrance, because of course. The post-match segment with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley taking down League of Nations was nostalgic for fans of the Attitude Era, even though it seemed forced and unnecessary.
Disliked: In short, the match itself was blah. Really, really blah.
Brock Lesnar defeated Dean Ambrose in a street fight
Liked: Ambrose breaking out random weapons, like a fire extinguisher and a chainsaw (though it didn’t work), was fun. There’s something entertaining about the Lunatic Fringe acting crazy and continuing to press on in the face of pain, which he did throughout this particular match.
Disliked: Over the course of the feud, it never was believable that Ambrose could take down Lesnar. So when Lesnar won clean, it was the most predictable and uninspiring finish imaginable. This was terrible booking by WWE, mostly because Lesnar is the company’s biggest draw and yet was relegated to a meaningless match outside of the title picture.
Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in a triple-threat match for the WWE Women’s Championship
Liked: This was arguably the best match of the night. All three women brought their A-game, with the most awesome highlight coming in the form of Charlotte moonsaulting onto her opponents outside of the ring from the top rope.
Disliked: The finish sucked because we’ve seen it a thousand times. Ric Flair helping his daughter win is cool once, twice, maybe three times. But shouldn’t something bigger, fresher and more entertaining have been planned for ‘Mania?
The Undertaker defeated Shane McMahon in Hell in a Cell
Liked: Shane O Mac leaping from the top of the cage was vintage. It was exactly the type of big spot one expected from this match.
Disliked: McMahon’s leap of faith was the only cool moment. The rest of the match was slow, albeit physically grueling, and it’s clear the stipulations used to push the match meant absolutely nothing. This was one old guy with name recognition fighting another old guy with name recognition and WWE attempting to cover-up the poor product with a stunt everyone would talk about. Nothing more.
Baron Corbin wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Liked: This match should be about pushing a new star, and WWE, in theory, did that by having Corbin emerge victorious.
Disliked: Everything else. This was a total mess. It seemed thrown together and the participants (Shaquille O’Neal, Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka, etc.) made it laughable. It’ll be hard to take this annual match seriously moving forward, assuming they keep it on the card. RIP.
The Rock defeated Erick Rowan in six seconds (new WrestleMania record)
Liked: The Rock. He’s generally entertaining even when the circumstances are less than ideal.
Disliked: The whole segment, including the impromptu match, was so incredibly pointless. John Cena’s return — can we really call them “returns” any more with him? — also seemed like a cheap pop, because while it was cool, there was nothing logical about it.
Roman Reigns defeated Triple-H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Liked: Triple-H brought it, even at age 46.
Disliked: Pretty much the whole thing. It was a boring match with an awful result. WWE needed some sort of surprise element here. Instead, Vince McMahon and Co. continued to jam Reigns down the WWE Universe’s throat, which is beyond frustrating at this point.
Overall WrestleMania 32 grade: D
The storylines going into this year’s WrestleMania were bad and it was reflected in the product, which was filled with hokey, meaningless segments and matches that were impossible to get invested in.
Thumbnail photo via WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns