WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of 2020, the first-ever two-night WrestleMania 36 aired from the Performance Center on April 4. Flaunting the tagline “Too Big For Night”, the inaugural evening delivered a total of nine pre-taped matches in front of an empty arena as WWE geared up for yet another equally entertaining extravaganza on the night of April 5.
Let’s look at how the second night of the 36th edition of Show of Shows went down, with our grades and analysis for the matches.
Pre Show: Natalya vs Liv Morgan
The matchup was announced at the very last minute but that didn’t prevent both women from putting together a decent performance. Veteran Natalya quickly gained the upper hand right after the bell, thanks to the renewed aggression that has been a staple of her work of late and toyed as the former Riott Squad member screamed in pain.
A modified Codebreaker helped Morgan create some separation followed by a two-count. Her momentum didn’t last long as Nattie quickly planted her opponent face-first in the middle of the ring.
The finish saw Liv counter a Sharpshooter and roll Natalya into a two-count followed by an Enziguiri. Both women traded roll-ups as Morgan managed to keep the veteran down for the 1-2-3.
Result: Liv Morgan defeated Natalya
Analysis: The booking did a decent job of putting Morgan over, thereby allowing the young competitor to score her first WrestleMania singles victory in her career.
Once again, Natalya did an outstanding job of building up younger talent on WWE’s biggest stage while also proving that she’s still got enough left in her tank to easily last another 5 years in the business. It was a solid victory for Morgan and hopefully, it’s going to push her up the ladder in the days to come.
NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs Charlotte Flair
The biggest female Superstar in the history of WrestleMania, Charlotte Flair challenged Rhea Ripley for the NXT Championship to kick off the evening’s main card.
The Queen started quick, targeting the previously injured left leg of Ripley; the Nightmare fired back with a Riptide for a two-count. Flair quickly rolled to the floor for a breather.
The match turned out to be a solid, intense, hard-hitting competition as both women enjoyed a constant shift in momentum in pursuit of rightfully claiming the title. Finally, Flair landed a huge spear on Ripley but only managed to get a two-count. More back and forth ensued and The Queen went for Figure Four but the Aussie countered into a small package for two.
The Queen once again went for her iconic submission hold and this time locked Ripley in. Flair quickly bridged over into the Figure Eight and scored the huge title victory via submission.
Result: Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley to become the new NXT Women’s Champion
Analysis: The victory successfully helped Flair cement her legacy as a record 11-time Women’s Champion in the history of WWE. It also established Ripley as a top-level Superstar while adding Charlotte’s star power to NXT as the billion-dollar promotion attempts to knock off AEW Dynamite in the Wednesday Night Wars.
This feud is far from over and given the world-class performance both women showcased tonight, it’s inevitable that the WWE Universe is going to witness a couple more equally entertaining rematches down the line.
Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley
The second match of the night witnessed two of the hardest hitters of the RAW brand tearing each other apart in a bout that was put together without any build.
Bobby Lashley nailed Aleister Black with a running crossbody and clothesline for a two-count. A highly confident All Mighty scooped The Anti-Hero up on his shoulders for The Dominator but Lana hopped on the apron and demanded he went for the spear instead.
Lashley put Black down and rushed towards him only to be on the receiving end of a devastating Black Mass that knocked his lights out in the empty Performance Center.
Result: Aleister Black defeated Bobby Lashley
Analysis: The victory helped Black extend his PPV winning streak on WWE’s grandest stage while also making him appear as an unstoppable force in the current landscape of the promotion.
The finish teased yet another potential fallout between an increasingly infuriated Lashley and his loud-mouthed wife Lana, and it’s only a matter of time before The All Mighty dumps The Ravishing Russian to revive his career with a babyface turn.
Grudge Match: Otis vs Dolph Ziggler
Sonya Deville accompanied Dolph Ziggler to the ring as Otis looked for vengeance right from the opening bell. The Heavy Machinery member endured some offense but quickly turned the tide with his brute strength. Otis continued to dominate his opponent and that caused Deville to hop on the apron for a timely distraction.
Ziggler capitalised on the opportunity and delivered a deliberate low blow to a distracted Otis. This led to Mandy Rose walk out and slap Deville before delivering a low blow of her own to The Show Off. Otis delivered the caterpillar to get the win and the girl.
Result: Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: The perfect over-the-top soap opera ending to the storyline that’s been spanning over months, the program had every element of drama throughout the long build. From Ziggler and Deville almost manipulating their way to victory to Rose making the save and finally locking lips with Otis, the Grudge Match was the perfect feel-good outcome anyone would expect from a much-anticipated romantic storyline.
The feud is far from over though – the WWE Universe should brace themselves for the inevitable Mixed Tag Team showdown involving all four Superstars immediately down the line.
Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs Randy Orton
Orton got off to an advantageous start by disguising himself as a cameraman and rocking Edge with an RKO outta nowhere. The Viper followed it up with another RKO but Edge managed to get up at the 9th count. Orton and Edge then whacked each other all over the Performance Center – from the gym to the production areas to the hallways to the office (where Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano brawled weeks ago), both legends tore each other apart with every piece of equipment that was available.
Orton and Edge climbed on top of a box truck for the final phase of the lengthy, gruelling matchup. After taking a spear, The Viper dropped the Rated R Superstar with an RKO. The 13-time World Champion then went for a Con-Chair-To but Edge jumped up and neutralised him with a submission manoeuvre.
An emotional 11-time World Champion then delivered a Con-Chair-To to his long-time colleague and stood tall over him as the referee counted to 10 to finish the intense, punishing match.
Result: Edge defeated Randy Orton
Analysis: The length of the matchup may have taken away from the epic encounter, but that didn’t prevent two 40 years+ veterans from showcasing that they can still run the locker room any day, especially the final moments offered a fair amount of nostalgia as well as a throwback to both men’s full potential back in their prime.
Edge’s grand WrestleMania return will go down as one of the best moments in WWE history and The Viper sold extremely well to make the 11-time World Champion shine like a million bucks. The ramped-up violence, intense action, and severe punishment did justice to deliver the perfect climax to this extremely personal rivalry that will be cherished for years to come.
Raw Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits vs Austin Theory & Angel Garza
The Street Profits had the upper hand right from the opening bell but a cheap kick from Austin Theory would turn the tables in the heels’ favor. A series of two-counts followed on the babyfaces which made Zelina Vega restless and furious.
Montez Ford blocked Angel Garza’s Wing Clipper and tagged Angelo Dawkins in. Austin Theory and Garza doubled teamed on him but Ford wiped Theory out with a Frogslplash. Dawkins took advantage and covered Theory to retain the titles via pinfall.
Post-match, the heels attacked the victors as Vega delivered a big kick to Ford. Bianca Belair hit the ring to defend her husband and began unloading on Vega as the Street Profits cleared house. Ford, Belair, and Dawkins stood tall and celebrated with the titles.
Result: The Street Profits defeated Austin Theory & Angel Garza to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships
Analysis: The match felt rushed but the result was a feel-good way to do justice to the titles. The biggest takeaway has to be Belair’s seemingly official call-up; the EST has been absent from NXT of late and this might be the huge hint that WWE is bringing her to the main roster for new rivalries and a bigger push.
Pitting Belair against Vega is definitely a clever way to get her involved in this feud and kick start her career on the main roster till he finds a way to shove herself into the RAW Women’s Title picture.
Fatal 5 Way Elimination Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Naomi vs Lacey Evans vs Tamina
The opening ball saw everyone sizing each other up. Bayley and Sasha Banks were knocked off by Tamina and so were Naomi and Lacey Evans. All four women teamed up to attack Tamina but the Samoan powered her way out and landed heavy strikes on all her opponents. Eventually, the Samoan powerhouse was overpowered and eliminated by the combined effort of all four women.
Naomi turned out to be the second woman to be eliminated from the competition after tapping out to the Bank Statement. Bayley double-teamed on Evans but it didn’t take long for The Lady to send The Boss to the floor. Bayley neutralized Evans; Banks quickly rolled back in to exchange a few words with her bestie.
The Lady capitalized and rocked The Boss with a Woman’s Right to eliminate her.
Without wasting any time, Evans and Bayley went at it as both women seemed hell-bent on tearing each other apart. The Lady delivered her iconic Moonsault finisher but The Hugger kicked out. Banks got involved and dropped the babyface with a Backstabber, and Bayley capitalized to score the pinfall and retain her title.
Result: Bayley defeated Sasha Banks, Naomi, Lacey Evans, and Tamina to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Analysis: Those who expected to see Bayley and Banks trade a few shots must be disappointed as there was nothing but pure love between the two best friends of the women’s division. Despite her short in-ring time, Tamina came out as the strongest and most dominant competitor and hopefully, this performance would open up new possibilities for her on the SmackDown brand.
The miscommunication and mid-match confrontation nearly fractured Bayley and Banks’ friendship but nevertheless The Boss returned to help her bestie retain the gold. However, Banks’ post-match facial expressions and body language clearly suggested that although she’s going to protect her friend, she would be more than willing to slay her for the title when the perfect opportunity arises.
Firefly Fun House Match: John Cena vs “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt introduced the WWE Universe to a world where Gods, angels, monsters, and demons exist. Before stepping out of the Firefly Fun House, Wyatt told John Cena, “You’re about to face your greatest opponent to date: yourself.”
Cena was teleported in the Fun House where he met Ramblin’ Rabbit and Abby The Witch. The Champ stepped through the same door as Bray and into darkness.The Evil Devil Boss puppet resembling Vince McMahon appeared and threatened to fire Cena.
The camera then cut to the ring where Wyatt was present, as both he and Cena took a trip down memory lane – both Superstars relive Cena’s debut against Kurt Angle which Wyatt dubbed as Cena’s greatest failure. Cena walked out to the ring in his Prototype gear as Wyatt asked him what made him eligible to hang with him. The Champ replied “Ruthless Aggression!” and swings but misses as the heel kept taunting him. Having had enough, Cena chased Wyatt out of the ring. Things quickly segued into a 1989-era Saturday Night’s main event with Evil Boss and Mercy The Buzzard on commentary.
Wyatt then cut an old school WWF promo in his fitness gym bro version and introduced Cena as his tag partner who was shown lifting weights in an insane fashion. The Franchise Player couldn’t lift his arms anymore which led to Wyatt channeling his inner Hulk Hogan and that teleported Cena in front of the SmackDown fist with “Word Life” theme being played in the background. The 16-time World Champion is sporting his Doctor Of Thuganomics gimmick as Wyatt waited in the ring.
Cena hit the ring and spoke in rhymes, warning Wyatt of what’s gonna happen to him. Wyatt replied that he worked hard for everything but had it all taken away whereas Cena’s opportunities are unlimited. Wyatt labeled Cena as a “bully” who buries everyone in his way. Wyatt warned that this is Cena’s last chance – The Champ charged into the corner but Wyatt vanished and dropped him with a right hand.
Wyatt then reprised his very first version (The Wyatt Family) sitting at his home in the woods at a Florida swamp. Flashes of Cena vs. Wyatt from WrestleMania 30 came to life as both men jumped back to the ring only for Wyatt to attempt a Sister Abigail on Cena. The Champ dodged and grabbed a chair from Wyatt and swung it but the master manipulator vanished only to reappear in a Wolfpack nWo t-shirt as WCW Monday Night Nitro graphics flashed all around.
Wyatt channeled Eric Bischoff and introduced Cena as The Hulkster to which the Leader of Cenation walked out in a black and white nWo attire with Hulk Hogan’ music being played in the background. Cena finally managed to unload on Wyatt as more moments from Cena’s career began to flash in the “arena”. Cena continued to swing only to find out that it was not Wyatt but Husky The Pig that he’s been hitting.
Now, The Fiend appeared behind Cena. The 16-time World Champion turned around only to be on the receiving end of a devastating Sister Abigail. The Fiend immediately followed up with a Mandible Claw for the win as his evil laughter alongside Cena’s own words from SmackDown about the “most overvalued, overhyped and overprivileged Superstar in WWE” played over it.
Result: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena
Analysis: A thorough frontrunner for 2020’s Match Of The Year, the epic, filmy encounter far exceeded the expectations of what the Boneyard Match had achieved last night. An Oscar-worthy “match”, Wyatt once again shone as the master manipulator by webbing Cena in his own hypocrisy by having The Champ relive his memorable moments and gimmicks from his glorious past.
Cena put The Fiend over as the next big face of WWE and rebuild and re-establish Wyatt’s character since his loss to Goldberg at Super ShowDown.
This obviously wasn’t Cena’s last match but the fact that WWE’s most celebrated hero happily put the company’s strongest character over and that too in a world-class filmy showdown means The Champ can quietly retire from the ring shall he choose to do so – an ideal farewell match, that is.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs Drew McIntyre
Brock Lesnar landed a kick, rammed Drew McIntyre into the corner and began unloading on him. The Sexy Scotsman fired back with a Claymore Kick for a two-count.
The Beast then took his opponent for a ride to Suplex City but McIntyre continued to kick-out which further angered the champion. An F5 followed but once again McIntyre managed to kick out at two. Lesnar followed it up with another F5 but the Scotsman refused to give up.
Finally, The Beast went for a third F5 but McIntyre countered and landed two successive Claymores. The Scottish Psychopath fired a fourth Claymore to successfully dethrone The Conqueror on the Grandest Stage Of Them All.
Result: Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar to become the new WWE Champion
Analysis: The result was obviously predictable and so was the finish. Lesnar’s frustration once again got the better of him as we have seen in the past when guys like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins managed to dethrone him despite victory seeming out of their reach. McIntyre now enters RAW as the face of the company, hopefully ushering in a new era as the next big thing in WWE.