Wrestlemania 36 Picks Up Slack for Fans Missing Sports Events
With the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA all suspending their respective seasons indefinitely, sports fans like us have kind of felt a little empty during the COVID-19 quarantine. WWE has been picking up that slack for many sports fans recently, capitalizing on the lack of sporting events elsewhere by producing shows without any fans in attendance. Most notably of which was Wrestlemania 36. The result is something a bit strange, but still surprisingly watchable for many fans, including me.
Should the WWE be doing live shows at all? Are they spreading the virus? Is it just another McMahon cash-grab? Is pro wrestling a sport at all? We can’t call it, but we do have some opinions on the recent Wrestlemania.
If you are as big of a sports fan as we are, you’ll definitely want to check out our articles on how the NFL is lacking behind regarding its cannabis policies, and how Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana recently entered the industry with a huge investment.
Wrestlemania 36 – No Fans in Attendance? No Problem, Says WWE
Unlike the previous 35 Wrestlemanias, 2020’s version wasn’t live, and it wasn’t just one day – it was two. But the strangest part was that there were no fans, due to social distancing protocols. WWE pulled off their first pre-recorded, two-night pay-per-view without fans. The sports entertainment conglomerate is also plowing through both RAW and Smackdown as well. WWE is recording these shows at its Performance Center training facility in Orlando, Florida.
Stephanie McMahon told Sports Illustrated that “no one is allowed to enter the facility if they have a temperature of 100.4. The events were recorded on a closed set with only essential personnel in attendance following federal, state and local guidelines while taking additional precautions to ensure the health and wellness of performers and staff.”
While most superstars like John Cena, Undertaker, AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Brock Lesnar, Edge, and Randy Orton performed for Wrestlemania 36, Roman Reigns pulled out due to concerns of being exposed to the virus after his battle with leukemia last year.
Gronk is Your New Champ!
Former New England Patriots’ Tight End Rob Gronkowski even made an appearance as the ring host. He became the new 24/7 Champion after pinning former champ R-Truth for the belt in one of the weakest rasslin’ performances I’ve ever seen. So this means that we’ll have to see Gronk defend his title at some point, because the 24/7 title belt is up for grabs at all times. I am sure New England fans just love seeing this. It almost makes me miss mid-90s LT VS Bam Bam. Gronk should just stick to working with his CBD company because most of his antics after football are just cringe-worthy.
Former NFL Punter and current Podcast host Pat McAfee interviewed Triple H on his show, and the two discussed the most unique Wrestlemania event ever. The Game talked about how WWE worked closely with officials from the CDC to ensure that the wrestlers, production crew, announcers and officials were staying as safe as possible. It’s worth a listen if you are a fan of Pro Wrestling.
Wrestlemania 36 – The Matches
Enough about how WWE dealt with coronavirus. Let’s get down to brass tax, to what every rasslin’ fan wants: the matches! One of the most noticeable things about a crowd-free WWE pay-per-view was the noises the performers made in-match. Every grunt, groan, taunt, ring noise, pin count and anything else you can think of was completely audible. I am not sure if this is good or bad, but it’s definitely one thing that stood out to me while watching. And it basically highlights how completely bat-sh!t crazy 2020 has been thus far.
On the first night, April 4th, the most notable match results include Braun Strowman defeating Goldberg for the Universal Championship, Becky Lynch besting Shayna Baszler to retain her Raw Women’s Championship, as well as Kevin Owens beating Seth Rollins in a No Disqualification match. Out of these matches, Lynch VS Baszler sticks out to me. It’s great to see the evolution of women wrestlers kicking some @ss, compared to what I remember watching as a kid.
On the second night, April 5th, the most notable match results include Drew McIntyre besting Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship, Charlotte Flair pinning Rhea Ripley to win the NXT Women’s Championship, and Edge defeating Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match. Edge VS Orton was the best out of these to me, but it still was forgettable. It was anticlimactic for Edge, the Rated R Superstar, as his first 1V1 match in nearly 10 years was underwhelming, in my opinion.
Wrestlemania 36 – Cinematic Off-Site Matches
To me, the most entertaining parts of Wrestlemania 36 were the cinematic off-site matches. Undertaker took on AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match, and Bray Wyatt faced John Cena in the Firefly Funhouse Match. It would appear that most WWE fans agree with me. The fans seem to think that these two matches were the best, given the circumstances. Perhaps the company will take notice and do more matches like these.
Bray Wyatt VS John Cena
The Firefly Funhouse match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in pro wrestling. And I mostly think it’s bizarre in a good way. Fans got to see Cena being taken through his career, as Bray took him there in the theatre of the mind. It starts with his tights, to his rapper phase, to You Can’t See Me and on to Cena acting in feature films. There was no actual wrestling happening, except for Wyatt hitting Cena with the mandible claw at the end. It was an intriguing “match” to say the least.
Undertaker VS AJ Styles
By far the best part of Wrestlemania 36, to me, was the Boneyard Match between Undertaker and Styles. I am not sure when or where the two even began their feud, but they appeared to have some chemistry and worked well together. This is even on a cinematic film set, being shot in a graveyard somewhere in Florida. Good thing, because Undertaker recently said that it might be his last match.
The dialogue between the two performers was all improvised. The set took days to build and the match took only 20 minutes to watch, but it took a full 8 hours to shoot. That’s a lot to ask for a crew and for performers, and the results were interesting, at least to me. Styles got some help from Druids who attacked the Dead One. But in the end, Taker won what could be his last match, burying Styles in classic Taker fashion.
Social Media Users Take Notice
Regardless of how oddly unique Wrestlemania 36 was or what you think about it, one thing is for certain – people were definitely talking about it A LOT on social media. With a total of 13.6 million social media interactions, it was the most socially talked-about Wrestlemania in WWE history.
With all of this modern-day pro wrestling going on, we couldn’t help but long for some of the nostalgia of yesteryear. A WWE video game made it into our top ten classic games, so that helped a little. I also rewatched the flick Fighting With My Family, which got 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s about the now-retired English wrestler Paige, is still one of the youngest pro wrestlers to ever win a championship belt. more on our quarantine recommendations for what to watch on streaming coming up in another article.
Do Pro Wrestlers Toke Up?
All of this pro wrestling talk got us wondering: do rasslers toke up? Short answer – yeah, most do. According to Ringside News, half of WWE wrestlers smoke weed and are only fined $2500 for testing positive for THC in their system. Apparently, they call this the “weed tax.” Additionally, Vince Mcmahon reportedly toked up at a live event in front of Donald Trump. Trump told him he couldn’t smoke a joint there, and Vince was like “I just did.”
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