It's Time For Cody Rhodes To Finish The Story
WrestleMania Night 1 is in the books! Top-to-bottom, the WWE delivered a phenomenal show in Los Angeles last night - capped off by an all time main event (that I wrote all about HERE) - and we've still got a stacked card to look forward to tonight!
I can't believe some people are still not into two-night WrestleManias - is Kevin Owens main eventing back-to-back Night 1s not all the proof you need that this RULES?!
Let's discuss this card a bit as we did with Night 1 yesterday....
Aside from the main event, THIS is the match I'm most excited for tonight.
We've got a massive hard hitting Austrian against a massive hard hitting Irishman against a massive hard hitting Scotsman. In the words of Big E, this is a BIG SWEATY MEN SLAPPIN MEAT match….
Sheamus and Gunther had a match of the year candidate back at Clash at the Castle, and adding McIntyre to the mix tonight should only make it better and more chaotic. If you've ever seen these guys wrestle live, you know just how hard they lay their shots in.
This is something straight outta the early 90s in terms of pure size and magnitude, and a match that actually makes the Intercontinental Championship feel sought-after and coveted! Gunther's 290+ day reign obviously helps that, as well, and I really hope it continues after tonight. I think he deserves to retain and look like the dominant champion he's been over the last year in front of that WrestleMania crowd. If you're watching your first Gunther match tonight - prepare to have a new favorite big man.
By the way, I know I complained about the new United States Championship design last night, and I don't want to be the 24-year-old kid already saying "back in my day!" all the time, but are they fucking serious with this new Intercontinental Championship design?!
That is (respectfully) one of the blandest, most BLEH, most forgettable wrestling championships I've ever seen.
Either go back to the tried and true classic….
….or change it up and bring back an updated version of the 98-11 design! I loved that title!
At least it had some personality! A little identity! Please, WWE, just get rid of that new abomination ASAP.
WE'RE GETTIN A HELL IN A CELL MATCH AT WRESTLEMANIA! I love it!
Something I'm really excited about here is that the bright red cage is apparently dead and gone, and that we're back to the grey cell tonight. Please let that be true, because this was hard to look at….
Another huge Triple H W.
I assume we'll see lots of interference in this match, from the Judgement Day, to Edge's wife, Beth Phoenix, and possibly even GANGREL from The Brood; it should get freaky.
If I were sitting ringside for this one, I'd show up in a poncho like I was in Gallagher's splash zone. You may be in store for a blood bath.
Finn's gonna be in his DEMON BÁLOR paint, as well, which has generally been pretty damn protected in his career, but not his last outing where he was embarrassingly defeated by a faulty turnbuckle….
….so I AM hoping that he goes over Edge here, even via Judgement Day interference. Just keep the Demon strong.
If you're a non-wrestling fan reading this, that probably sounds like the lamest shit ever typed, but I know the real fans know what I'm talking about. You just can't have the guy pretending to be a living Demon when he wears war paint looking goofy in there. Not again. I'll be livid.
Last night's WrestleMania Showcase tag match was awesome. It was a complete sprint from start-to-finish, filled with exciting action, crazy feats of strength, and wild high flying spots - and it lasted less than ten minutes. I loved it.
Seriously, though, it was exactly what it needed to be and then some - a perfect second match on the card to keep the crowd hot that actually left em with something to remember too. This match should try to do the exact same.
Sure, you don't have someone that can shooting-star-press a billion feet in the air like Ricochet, but Raquel Rodriguez could have the Gable-like feat of strength, Shotzi or Liv can do a huge dive to the outside - and maybe work in a comedy spot or two as none of the other matches on the card will call for one. Wrestle like you want a singles match on next year's card!
Bianca Belair has torn the house down in her last two WrestleMania appearances (against Sasha Banks in the main event in Tampa and against Becky Lynch in Dallas) like she's gunning for that "Mrs. WrestleMania" title! She's one of the most athletic women to ever step foot inside a WWE ring, and puts together matches and creative finishes with the best of em. She's held the title for a full year now, going back to last year's Mania, and never disappoints when the bright lights are on.
Asuka, on the other hand, has solidified herself as one of the best, most consistent workers in the company over the past few years - and this new heel persona is a BRILLIANT reinvention (or really just an old gimmick she's never used in WWE before) that the fans love….
Charlotte and Rhea Ripley tore it up last night, but I see Bianca and Asuka wrestling like they want to outdo that tonight. I find it hard to envision a scenario where this isn't really great, and don't really know who is gonna come out on top. Circle this as a dark horse Match of the Night contender.
I'll be honest - I'm pretty sure this match is just on the card so we can see Brock Lesnar toss around a giant, and I'm not mad at it!
WWE doesn't release an official match order for WrestleMania (card subject to change), so I've just been breaking the event down by how Wikipedia lists it, but I can almost guarantee they'll open the show with this one tonight so Brock could get on his jet and get the fuck outta Los Angeles as soon as possible. He jerked the curtain at WrestleMania 35 in Jersey for the same reason.
If you're not aware, Omos is a MASSIVE 7'3" former college basketball player who has only been wrestling for a few years, but you probably won't see much offense from him tonight - he will likely just serve as Brock's crash test dummy.
Who knows, though; maybe Brock will channel his old feud with The Big Show from 2003 and put on a hoss man classic.
I expect this to be a quick Lesnar victory, probably another under ten minutes. It'll be cool to see Brock pick this guy up tho….
….and babyface Brock has been fun, to be fair - putting an "underdog" spin on him is a good change of pace.
Little side story: We had an ad deal with the WWE around SummerSlam in Vegas a couple years ago, and after the show, we were lucky enough to be invited to the official WWE afterparty. My favorite visual ever was walking onto the balcony overlooking the strip and the first people I saw were Glenny Balls and Omos chatting it up about how he got into wrestling. I don't even know how Balls got into the party before me. Him and Feits wound up hitting it off with Sheamus and Riddle like they were old pals. It was great.
Here's a picture of me and Balls on that very same balcony….
Finally, the main event of Night 2: Roman Reigns defends the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes. This one is truly for all the marbles. Reigns hasn't been pinned in over 1200 days, while Cody Rhodes has yet to lose a single match since returning to the WWE.
Cody's story is simple: he wants to win the world championship that his family has been chasing for decades. His father, Dusty Rhodes, believed he had won the championship in 1977 when he defeated Billy Graham in a title match - only to have it stripped from his hands and told the world championship doesn't change hands via countout. The belt has evaded the Rhodes family ever since.
Cody left the WWE in 2016 when he realized he wasn't seen (and wasn't going to be seen) as a main eventer in the company, and then proved himself as one of the best wrestlers in the world over the next few years. He worked everywhere, from the sold out Tokyo Dome to the smallest American Legions all over the globe. He wrestled every style, working heel/face/tweener, and was down for anything and everything as he perfected his craft. He even went and started the WWE's biggest competition, All Elite Wrestling (with Tony Khan and The Young Bucks), and sold out arenas all over the country as a main event level talent while giving dozens upon dozens a living in this business.
Now, he's back for the title that the Rhodes Family never won. How could you not be romantic about wrestling with stories like that?!
Roman and Heyman have taken Cody's desire for that title and what it means to his family and made it personal, bringing up the fact that Dusty trained Roman and viewed him as the son Cody never was….
….and Roman has even taken shots at the AEW audience turning on Cody lately….
….and Cody has just gone with these really emotional, heartfelt promos that have the crowd behind him like they were behind Dusty back in the day.
Honestly, they've done a fantastic job building this match - especially considering how into the Sami v Roman storyline everyone was just a month ago. I mean this line from Cody on SmackDown was AWESOME….
I think Cody's gonna end Roman's long, dominant, multi-year title reign tonight, generating a pop so loud it might cause an earthquake in California….completing the fall of the Bloodline. The Usos and Solo will probably try to interfere, bringing Sami/KO back out to fight them off, and then Cody will hit a couple Cross Rhodes' to give WrestleMania its first fully happy ending in years!
I'm still holding out some hope for a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin surprise at some point, too - maybe he'll come out and stun LA Knight halfway through the card or something. We got a quick impromptu segment with Pat McAfee and The Miz last night, and I'd love something similar tonight. Give us something on Night 2 that keeps the 'Anything can happen at WrestleMania' feeling alive!
Check out my most recent interview with Cody Rhodes here….
….and enjoy WrestleMania!