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Cageside Countdown: The Best of Wrestlemania 32

Wrestlemania 32. It was... a show. That happened. On Sunday. Like The Walking Dead season finale. Now which of the two was less satisfying to watch I guess depends on your feelings on cliffhangers that won't be resolved for six months and five-hour wrestling programs that felt like ten.

But nonetheless, it's Wrestlemania, and that show produces plenty of moments that will be replayed for generations to come.

But what is the greatest moment of Wrestlemania 32?

Earlier this week, we put that question to you, the Cagesiders of the galaxy. Now, without further ado...

The top 10 moments of Wrestlemania 32.

Ok, that in a moment, but first... 10 honorable mentions.

1. For those of you are wondering why people like Steve Austin and The Rock and Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley keep showing up at Wrestlemania, seriously. Did you hear the pop for these guys, especially Austin, who is Wrestling Jesus in Texas (and for a lot of people around the world quite frankly)?

2. Wrestlemania turns everyone into fashionistas for a day. Case in point, Emma preparing for all out war with her shoulder pads.

3. Sasha Banks paid homage to her wrestling hero (something that will be discussed later in this countdown—spoilz everyone) at Wrestlemania. And to her credit, she went all the way with it, delivering a frog splash that would make Latino Heat proud.

4. But in terms of degree of difficulty, the frog splash winner is one Kevin Owens, who went past Eddie Guerrero and went full Rob Van Dam, delivering a five-star frog splash to Sami Zayn, who was on top of a ladder. Ouch.

5. But Sami would get his revenge late in the match, when he ordered up Kevin an iced tea and lemonade... on a ladder. Pretty sure the neck's not supposed to bend like that.

6. This happened. And it was amazing. And so was Stephanie's pre-match speech, letting us know that after tonight, all hope will be gone. How right she was. If anyone has the full transcript (or video), please post in the comments.

7. The main event went nearly a half hour, making it one of the longer matches in Wrestlemania history. Having seen a mostly disappointing four-hour affair, the crowd largely turned on the show, chanting boring, chanting for Bayley, hell, even chanting for new NXT signee Shinsuke Nakamura.

8. After Ric Flair has been all up in the women's division's business, particularly Becky Lynch, for months, Becky finally served some flame-haired revenge by suicide diving on to the Nature Boy. It's a miracle Flair didn't bleed. It also sucked that Flair still played a role in the outcome, but that's another story.

9. So a young lady by the name of Kate Foray did a minute-by-minute breakdown of Wrestlemania 32 (and you should all go look at it like right now). The main show went 293 minutes. 293 minutes. That's seven minutes away from FIVE HOURS. Some perspective: you can watch two full episodes of RAW back-to-back without commercial interruption (three times for the Hulu version) and still spend less time than watching Wrestlemania. For many, the best part of the show was when it ended. Hell, people were filing out early to beat the traffic. Can ya blame them?

10. We were half-joking that Sasha Banks would do something crazy at Wrestlemania, like take a backdrop on the apron. Thankfully, she did not take said backdrop on the apron. She did, however, do a suicide dive. With a barrel roll.

Now that we're good and warmed up, we're throwing from the stretch with...

The top ten moments of Wrestlemania 32.

For reals this time. Remember, these moments were voted by you. So if this lists sucks, that's on you. Your bad.

(pic via

10. Sasha Banks pays tribute to Eddie Guerrero.

See? Told ya we get to this.

Sasha Banks' favorite wrestler growing up was the great Eddie Guerrero. By now, you've heard her heartbreaking story of when she went to a RAW/Smackdown taping to see her favorite wrestler, only to find out that her favorite wrestler had tragically died the night before.

So on the biggest stage Sasha's ever performed on, she paid homage to her favorite wrestler ever by wearing tights with a similar style to that of Eddie Guerrero when he validated his Upset of the Century with a win over Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania XX. And with her theme being performed live, it's safe to say Sasha had a better night than most.

(GIFs via

9. Sami Zayn's dive through the ladder.

Sami Zayn is pretty awesome at this professional wrestling thing. Like really, really, really awesome. The well-traveled wrestler has dazzled NXT audiences for years, but for some fans, their introduction to the Inzayn one came at the Royal Rumble event where he smashed his ex-BFF Kevin Owens' face in. This came after his one-off main roster performance the previous May as the latest victim in the John Cena United States Open Challenge thing.

During the show-opening ladder match, Sami does a dive over the top rope onto five people. FIVE PEOPLE. Oh, and just to up the difficulty, Zayn did this dive through a ladder. So much could have went wrong, and Sami nailed it absolutely perfect.

Oh, and for completion, five seconds later, full sprint, he did a torpedo DDT on Kevin Owens. Everybody gets served at Wrestlemania. Everyone. Sami is the man.

(GIF via

8. Charlotte's top rope moonsault to the floor.

So... women's wrestling, you guys.

Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks hijack the show with a brilliant showcase in the biggest women's match in the company in a decade. All three of these ladies are crazy talented.

Yes, even the Nature Girl.

Case in point, Charlotte doing something that would make Lita blush a bit. She did a moonsault from the top rope to a waiting Banks and Lynch outside. Read that sentence again.

Charlotte. Did a moonsault. from the top rope. To the outside. That is freaking mental, and a corner-turning moment for WWE. After all, this was unthinkable as recently as say... the day before the show. After all, there was a mandate, whether spoken or not, that the women were not allowed to outshine the guys. Not anymore. Not after that. The ladies were allowed to cut loose, thus, HOLY SHIT, CHARLOTTE'S DOING A MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE.

(pic via

7. Zack Ryder wins the Intercontinental Championship.

Matthew Cardona, aka Zack Ryder, is one of the more fascinating stories in WWE. Joining the WWE main roster as one half of the Major Brothers and briefly portraying one of Edge's dopplegangers, Zack went solo as the Long Island Loudmouth. But it wasn't until Ryder began his own web series, Z! True Long Island Story, that Ryder struck gold. He had suddenly become very popular with Internet fans, and eventually, non-Internet fans. He even became the first WWE wrestler to amass a million followers on Twitter. He briefly became WWE United States Champion and was featured in a main event storyline with John Cena.

And that's where everything went to hell: Ryder lost the US title without a single successful defense on TV, he would lose his storyline girlfriend to John Cena, he would be crippled by Kane, and to top it off, he was kicked in the nuts for all the world to see by Eve Torres. Get over without the WWE machine, will ya? That's what ya get.

Ryder would suffer plenty for the next three years before teaming with Mojo Rawley as the Hype Bros in NXT, which some would argue is a fate worse than death. But fortune smiled on Ryder: three weeks before Wrestlemania, one of the speculated participants in the Intercontinental Championship ladder match, Neville, blew out his ankle. Taking his place would be Zack Ryder. Surely he would be little more than fodder for whoever won the belt.

Except... that's not what happened. The Miz, on the verge of winning the Intercontinental title, is shoved off the ladder by Zack Ryder, and it is Long Island Iced Z that pulls the belt down. A man who's been kicked around quite a bit for the last four years finally got his Wrestlemania moment in perhaps the feel good story of the event.

Of course they negated said feel good story the next night by having Mike Mizanin win it, but that's a different story.

6. Shane McMahon dives from the top of Hell in a Cell.

Shane McMahon is a crazy person. Seriously, just look at the Shane McMahon collection on WWE Network. Like his father, he bled, sweat, and paid the price for this crazy ass business, one he actually left six and a half years ago.

Shane returned in the runup to Wrestlemania, one many people wanted but assumed would never happened. Shane wanted one thing: control of RAW, the only show that matters in the WWE Universe. Vince would give him the keys, but only on the condition that he defeated The Undertaker in a hell in a cell match.

Good luck.

Fast forward to the showcase of the immortals and the end of the match, when Shane McMahon, crazy person, laid out the Undertaker on one of the announce tables (the Spanish one, I think. Pretty sure it was the Spanish one). Then Shane climbed the cell. Mind you, kids: this isn't the original hell in a cell cage. This is the one that was introduced in 2006: the bigger one. The really big one that almost nobody will climb because seriously, look how big that cage is. CM Punk and Paul Heyman in the past braved the climb. And you can add Shane-O-Mac to the list.

But no one did what Shane did next.

Shane, who said he would do anything to protect his legacy, jumped from the cage. Hopefully on to a waiting Undertaker. Instead to an empty table. Good God almighty! Good God almighty! That killed him! Oh my God. As God as my witness, he is broken in half! For the love of mankind, somebody check on Shane.

By the way, his three young boys were at ringside. This is like a Beyond the Mat reboot.

Shane never had a chance after that. He, like hundreds before him, was flipped on his head, dropped on his head, and The Undertaker is 23-1.

5. Divas no more.

On the April 19, 1999 episode of RAW is WAR, Sable, the WWF Womens Champion at the time, and one of the top heels in the company thanks to her shift in attitude with all the fame going to her head, more or less called herself the alpha female of the division. Sable would be gone from the company less than a month later, but one word in that promo stuck around.


That would become the branding term for WWE's women for the next decade and a half. While there was little issue with it in the beginning, the tide shifted over the last few years with the vast improvement of female wrestlers around the world. Everywhere except WWE, where the quality, especially following the exits of the likes of Trish Stratus, Lita, and later Victoria, Mickie James, and Beth Phoenix, drove the quality of the division to near rock-bottom levels.

There were a few tipping points occurring in the last three years: Total Divas for a time became the focus of the division, the infamous 30-second match that spawned #GIveDivasAChance. The Divas Revolution. The even more infamous 30-second match that began the longest reign in the history of the Divas championship. AJ Lee, arguably the best of an awful division for a while, called it a career at age 28 just a month after calling for change on Twitter.

Meanwhile in their developmental program, ladies like Ashley Fleihr, Rebecca Knox, Mercedes Kaestener-Vardano, Pamela Martinez, Saraya Jade-Beavis, and Tenille Dashwood were tearing the house down, and often in featured bouts.

And that's not even beginning to get into the fact that the women on the main roster have been booked into one or more of the following stereotypes: crazy, catty, bitchy, and/or slutty. Eventually, the masses had enough. And surely WWE had enough of the browbeating too, especially from the mainstream media. On Sunday, April 3, 2016, when the WWE introduced a new championship for the ladies (we'll get to that), they did something else: they dropped the term "diva".  Stephanie McMahon in a piece for The Player's Tribune:

Our female performers are world-class athletes, actors, public speakers and philanthropists. They're role models, inspiring and empowering women and girls to be confident and strong. They dedicate themselves to WWE, achieve great success and earn the same respect as their male counterparts.

Therefore, from this point forward, all of our performers - male and female - will be known as "Superstars."

Word. Except they won't just be inspiring women, they'll be inspiring everyone.

4. New Day enters from a box of Booty-Os.

What? You need context? Just look at it. It's three Saiyans with unicorn heads popping out of a box of cereal. What more do you want?

3. WWE introduces a new Women's Championship belt.

Over the last year, the women's division in WWE grew up. The days of the cover girl and model-turned-wrestler were soon to be a thing of the past after WWE spent the better part of a decade duplicating the Trish Stratus model--to varying degrees of failure. Whether its lack of ability and charisma or the perception of why they were brought in (or why they were actually brought in), the recent crop of women in WWE were never going to be looked at on the same pedestal as the likes of Lita or Trish Stratus or even Jacqueline, who just recently went into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Even with the additions of the likes of AJ Lee, Emma, Paige, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte in the last few years, there was one reason why the perception of women in WWE was never going to change. Ok, besides the way they were booked.

That damn butterfly belt.

Introduced in 2008, the Divas Championship belt, referred to in other circles under a different nickname I will not utter (seriously, Google it. It's not hard to find, I promise), has been an albatross among WWE's females. It's hard to take #GIveDivasAChance seriously when (a) the perception of the division is either catty, crazy, bitchy, slutty, or some combination of the four, and (b) the belt they're fighting for essentially looks like a toy. I mean, they got rid of the spinner belt. THE SPINNER BELT.

After rumors for weeks that a new belt was in the works, WWE's newest creation was introduced to the world during the Wrestlemania preshow by the lovely Lita.

And it. Is. Gorgeous. Ok, yes, it's essentially a smaller version of the WWE Championship belt. With a different color scheme. But look at it. It says Women's Champion. WOMEN'S CHAMPION. You're gonna tell me the Divas title belt is better? FOH. Goodbye and good riddance to the butterfly belt, we hardly knew ye. (photo via

2. The women's triple threat match steals the show.

While Dolph Ziggler claims to steal the show, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte ACTUALLY stole the show at Wrestlemania. Let's be honest: the pressure was on them to not only deliver, but deliver in spades. And that they did.

The familiarity among the ladies was very much on display, with all the ladies working to not just beat one another, but beat them into submission if necessary. Also, that suicide dive though. That other suicide though. That moonsault to the outside though. They brought the NXT playbook with them, and oh yeah, the crowd was engaged. This was the best match on the show by a considerable margin, and I have a feeling these three will have many more Wrestlemania moments in their future.

Still grinds my gears that Ric Flair got involved in the finish.

1. Baron Corbin wins the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

Wait... Baron Corbin? Who the hell is this guy? We'll get to that in a moment.

The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal has now become WWE's annual excuse of getting 30 men a Wrestlemania payday. Unfortunately, it's also done nothing for the two previous winners in Cesaro and The Big Show. It's a cool down segment, and after the thriller that was Hell in a Cell, the crowd needed a break.

But if you didn't take off to the bathroom, you saw cameo appearances by Tatanka (Buffalo), Diamond Dallas Page (two days away from his 60th birthday), and soon-to-be NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal.

So you're not bothered by the details, here's how it ends: Kane eliminates Bo Dallas and Darren Young, then Baron Corbin, he of NXT who is a hater of indy wrestlers and is big (read: he's a Vince McMahon guy), sneaks from behind and eliminates Kane, and the upstart Corbin in his very first WWE match wins the battle royal of uselessness. Gotta say, he looks pretty awesome standing next to the trophy, even if he probably has no idea who Andre the Giant is. Maybe Corbin will break the curse of past ATGMBR winners.

Maybe not.

It's an interesting choice, one I don't necessarily agree with. But maybe this choice is an indictment of Wrestlemania 32 as a whole that you picked Baron Corbin's shocking win as the best moment of Wrestlemania 32.


Disagree with the list? Discuss in the comments.

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