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WrestleMania 32 results, recap, reactions: Roman Reigns, King Nothing

WrestleMania 32 was, for all intents and purposes, the biggest show in the history of WWE, just as the company expected it to be. By the end of it, it also felt like the longest. It dragged. There was so much that happened in the span of the seven hours it was on USA, the WWE Network, and pay-per-view (PPV) that it felt like watching three separate shows.

There was too much. That makes it hard to be particularly happy -- or sad, for that matter -- about any of it. It felt like a million things happened but also like we didn't really get anything at all.

Still, much occurred and let's get to the getting. Full results and coverage of every match on the card can be found here:


Bow to the king

At the end of the day, I want to get lost in the stories WWE tells me each week. I am fully unable to do that with Roman Reigns, with no end in sight, because the company is either too tone deaf or too stubborn to recognize what is so clearly in front of them.

This isn't working.

I'm no expert but it sure sounded as though they turned the sound down for his entrance, when the entire stadium erupted in boos. That means we can be reasonably certain it's not that they're tone deaf, it's that they're stubbornly refusing to accept the organic reaction to one of their top stars. There's nothing wrong with booing him. There's nothing wrong with cheering him. Both can be used for the greater good of the company.

But this feels like a tug-of-war between the fans and the decision makers, and, frankly, it's tiring.

I would much rather get invested in a good story than focus entirely too much of my attention on whether or not a certain arena in a certain city is going to react to Reigns in a positive or negative way. I'm tired of diving deep into the psychology of why a segment of fans aren't accepting him as the hero he's been pushed as being. I'm even more tired of the opposite.

I am not supposed to feel that way.

It shouldn't be this hard just to watch a performer do his job. Part of it is the medium, the nature of the art form itself, but it goes beyond that. When you've got major stars who have made major money in the business advocating for the same thing the fans are, it's not an issue of a spoiled fan base not getting its way.

As for the match itself, well, Triple H worked a WWE main event style match like Triple H likes to work WWE main event style matches. Everything has to feel epic, like it's a war of attrition, like any gain is a struggle and a series of small victories is what gives you the war and to the victor go the spoils. That's fine.

But on this night, after what felt like 88 hours of wrestling and one long, drawn out, very bad promo/segment from The Rock, it just didn't fit.


That'll do

I'm going to open myself up to whatever heat this may bring me but you know what? Let's stop with these masturbatory promos from The Rock where he takes 20 minutes to walk out on stage, stand there staring at the crowd, allowing his theme to drone through that ridiculous guitar solo that was good the first 687 times we heard it but is now the worst piece of music in history because SERIOUSLY JUST GO TO THE RING ALREADY.

We don't need flamethrowers, we don't need anything set on fire, we don't need Rock pointing at his arm to tell us he has goosebumps, we don't need him to say finally he's come back to Dallas (when he's actually in Arlington), and we don't need the lame jokes at the expense of whatever heel act he was tasked with going over on.

I'm not even going to get in here and tell you it was wrong for WWE to book him to go over -- alongside a returning John Cena in one of the worst surprise (but not really) returns of his career -- The Wyatt Family. In many ways, it wasn't. It's a heels job to get the babyface over, WrestleMania is a babyface show, they're already about as low as they can go as a group, and this was more or less a throwaway segment, no matter how big the show was.

That was all fine. Beating Erick Rowan in six seconds was fine. Whatever. Cool. It was fun for the live crowd.

His segments just go on and on and, like Paul Heyman, he never has anything new or interesting to say. Not anymore. We get it. You're The Rock, you're a big star, and you had some catchphrases everyone loved back in the day.

Let's just agree it's time to move beyond all that.


Dying a death

They went through with Shane McMahon and Undertaker living out their dream of working an MMA match. It was an exhibition, two old men who have only trained the styles and have to work it around the cartoon world they inhabit in WWE. It made every movement awkward, which was already an issue considering it was Shane in there.

Looking back, it was exactly what we all thought it would be. A whole lot of fluff, a big spot or two that was used as set up for the one really big spot -- Shane O'Mac going full Shane O'Mac and jumping off the absurdly high Hell in a Cell structure onto a table below.

Fans were literally chanting "Please don't do this" at him before he jumped.

It didn't matter. He was still pinned, and while they actually tried to make Shane look like a threat at first, by the end of it Undertaker walked away like this wasn't a challenge at all. All those stipulations they used to promote this match? None of them will come into play.

They needed something big to save the card and then all they could deliver was an old man jumping from a high place.


Doomed to repeat itself

The women's division is now being referred to as just that. This is good. There is a shiny new championship title that looks even better than what the men have. This is also good. Charlotte is still the overlord of the division because literally everyone else within it is too stupid to account for her crusty old dad.

This is not good.

This is not good at all.

The match itself was very good. They gave it the proper introduction, with big entrances for all, a nicely put together video package, and all the hype you would expect for an important match. It felt like the game changer they wanted it to be, and when the bell rang and they went to work, they delivered in the way they were expected to.

And then that dreaded finish, where Flair once again interfered on behalf of his daughter. Sasha even had Snoop Dogg with her during her entrance and, if only for a short time, he was ringside for the match. What logical reason exists that she wouldn't have him stick around to deal with any potential problem she should KNOW would be coming because this is a Charlotte match and Ric is ringside?

This isn't exclusive to the women's division, certainly, but everyone came out of this looking as dumb as possible.


The best in what world?

At making bad decisions. There is no way I can justify this no matter what hat I'm wearing, be it that of an analyst, a critic, a businessman, or just a fan of professional wrestling. It was maddening for multiple reasons, starting with the decision to have Chris Jericho once again kick out of the Styles Clash, a finish they've managed to keep special by simply avoiding altogether.

Jericho, the old dad himself, has now kicked out of it twice.

Again, that's maddening from any perspective, but most of all as a fan who thinks it's one of the better finishers that hasn't been spammed to death and kicked out of a million times. Here, it was rendered all but meaningless and to service what greater good? To better tell what story?

It was done so Jericho would look that much better when he beat Styles clean in the middle of the ring not long after.

Again, even speaking strictly as a fan, none of this felt good in any way. The match itself was fine, if somewhat slow, but the finish killed whatever enjoyment there was in how they got to it.


All the rest

Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose: This was a great story until a week ago when the red wagon came out. And then it ended here not with a bang but a whimper. There was no emotional pull to anything they did. It was just Lesnar throwing Dean around and Ambrose trying to use weapons to stay in the fight. He couldn't. He was savagely beaten and pinned in the most obvious outcome imaginable. There just needed to be all the emotion they started with, and there was none of it. For a disappointing card all around, this was easily the most disappointing. It was still fun, no doubt about that, but it could have been so much more. With the benefit of hindsight, it's even worse.

Intercontinental: This was a really fun match that featured all the usual spots that make you cringe and fear for the long term safety of the performers but jump out of your seat and cheer wildly for. Sin Cara deserves a deep tissue massage and a steak dinner for his efforts in this match. Stardust's various tributes to his father were touching. The Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn rivalry continuing on was fun. And it had a legitimately shocking finish, with Zack Ryder coming away champion. This was good.

Baron Corbin, Giant: There were rumors, sure, but the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal felt like a strange last minute booking decision, didn't it? Like Shaquille O'Neal was in the building visiting and they decided to give him some gear and send him out for the match to get a good pop. Like Diamond Dallas Page was doing yoga with some guys backstage and they grabbed him and sent him out. Like Baron Corbin was there, they remembered how impressive he's been n NXT of late, and decided to give him the victory to kick off a main roster run that no one saw coming. The Balor Club isn't here yet but Corbin is an Andre Battle Royal winner. It's amazing. It's also really dumb, but in a way that makes it fun. What a super pro wrestling deal this was.

Legendary legends: Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and Mick Foley did indeed have roles on this show and that turned out to be putting the boots to League of Nations and then dancing with -- before delivering a Stunner to -- The New Day. I have no idea how this makes any sense but, as we've mentioned here, this is WrestleMania and it's treated differently than any other show on the WWE calendar. The segment was fun once you let it be that instead of thinking about the ramifications for a hot tag team act in New Day or so on and so forth.

Booty O's: New Day lost their match, by the way, but came into the arena in a box of Booty O's cereal doing a Dragon Ball Z cosplay. When you remember this show, you aren't going to remember Xavier Woods getting pinned after a Brogue Kick. You tell me who really won here.

Mortal Kombat: Kalisto came into this show looking like he was on the first leg of a Mortal Kombat tournament and THE BIG GUY Ryback was his first opponent. They had a fun match -- Ryback is a solid bully -- and Kalisto picked up a win.

Tables: You know, they actually told a good story for the Usos vs. Dudley Boyz match, it's just that no one paid attention because, well, no one really cared. They paid that story off here too, in the best way they could, and that's enough to give this a thumbs up, even if it wouldn't have been out of place on a mid-summer episode of SmackDown. Or Superstars, even.

So long, Brie Bella: We learned a couple things from the Total Divas vs. BAD & Blonde match, namely that Naomi is better than she's ever positioned as, Lana isn't as awful as everyone heard she was, Evil Emma is still amazing, and Nikki Bella will wear her ring gear if she is going to the ring, even if she's not going to be taking any bumps and has to have a neck brace on for her appearance.

This show went way too long and while there was a lot to like about it, there was also a lot to hate about it. As mentioned, for so much happening in a seven hour show it sure felt like nothing happened at all.

Grade: D+

Your turn.

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