Mediocrity headlines WrestleMania 32

Colin Barry

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The AT&T Stadium was packed with more than 100,000 wrestling fans in attendance for the show in Arlington, TX. They were anticipating an engaging show, which is intended to the WWE’s version of the Super Bowl, where athletic competition and pop culture collide. But it was the ending to the matches and moments within them that left fans confused and annoyed. They started to become vocal about it during the main event.

Triple H defended his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns. The two have built a rivalry around Triple H beating Reigns out of the title over and over again. Triple H, despite being a bad guy, received cheers throughout the arena.

Reigns, whom the fans had been against for quite some time, did not stand a chance. The match itself was a straight up slugfest, as the two men traded stiff punches left and right. Reigns gave Triple H’s wife, Stephanie McMahon, a spear, or a football tackle to non-wrestling fans. Reigns left the arena with fireworks thundering around him along with a chorus of boos.

The company is going to need to do a massive creative overhaul with Reigns if they want the crowd to cheer for him.

Next, the Undertaker and a returning Shane McMahon battled in the infamous Hell in a Cell match. If McMahon won, he would have gained control of ‘Monday Night Raw,’ the WWE’s weekly show, and if Undertaker lost, he would have to retire.

A nearly 20-foot steel cell surrounds the ring and anything can go in this match. McMahon and Undertaker are a 46-year-old and a 51-year-old, respectively. Fans did not expect much out of the two veterans, but they did give the fans  another slugfest.

McMahon scared the audience as he dove onto the Undertaker after climbing to the top of the cell. Fans chanted, “Please don’t die,” made McMahon want to do it more, even with his three sons and wife in the front row. After falling and causing the crowd to watch the astonishing move, McMahon lost after Undertaker hit him with the tombstone piledriver. The crowd gave McMahon overwhelming respect.

Three of the top female wrestlers in the world faced off in a triple threat match. Charlotte, daughter of wrestling legend “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, won in one of the most exciting matches of the night. Her opponent, Sasha Banks, had her cousin Snoop Dogg rap her entrance theme,  much to the delight of the crowd. Banks fought hard, locking in her Bank Statement submission maneuver on Charlotte and third competitor Becky Lynch, and hitting a frog splash as  tribute to deceased wrestler Eddie Guerrero.

Perennial underdog Zack Ryder won the Intercontinental Championship in a seven-man ladder match, where several of the wrestlers involved left with plenty of bruises.

Another bright spot of the event was the fourth match between AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. The match was also Styles’ first WrestleMania and the two showed off they were impressive and fast-paced technical skills in the ring. Jericho won after hitting a codebreaker out of nowhere, making the score between the wrestlers two-two.

Brock Lesnar proved his dominance against current fan favorite Dean Ambrose in the most disappointing match on the show. Ambrose broke out several steel chairs, a few kendo sticks and a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Unfortunately, Lesnar defeated Ambrose after one F-5 onto steel chairs after a short and underwhelming match.

The League, who routinely loses week after week on ‘Monday Night Raw,’ defeated the New Day. Afterward, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Stone Cold Steve Austin confronted the League and the crowd went haywire at the sight of the legends.

NXT star Baron Corbin won the third annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but he was not the most surprising competitor. Newly inducted Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal was a surprise entrant.

In one of the event’s most strangest moments, the Rock talked to the crowd for nearly 20 minutes and was confronted by crowd favorite Wyatt Family. Rock challenged the team to a match, and a returning John Cena helped beat down the opponents. The sight of a returning Cena may have made the crowd happy, but the continuing losses of the Wyatt Family are starting to make their fans lose interest and faith in them.

WrestleMania 32 was not the worst WrestleMania, however, it is far from the best. The five-hour show dragged at times, especially with the promo of the Rock. Reigns’ victory was also something fans in attendance were not  happy with. The new champion has a long road ahead of him, especially if the crowd is against him. Regardless, the show featured some great matches and was enjoyable overall.