By Charlie ScottEmbed from Getty Images
So here it is! That time of year once again, Wrestlemania! This year is under circumstances no one saw coming, and we here at Top Turnbuckle and Overtime would like to wish everyone safety and love in this awful time. But despite COVID-19 taking thousands of lives across the world, this hasn’t stopped WWE bringing joy and happiness to our lives for the 36th year running.
Emanating from the Performance Centre in front of zero fans this truly will go down in history and one of the most memorable Wrestlemania’s due to the circumstances, but that didn’t stop every wrestler going out there and making it memorable for their in-ring displays!
For the first time on Top Turnbuckle we are going to introduce a ratings system! Not quite as prestigious as Dave Meltzer’s star ratings but one day may well be! Keep your eyes peeled for the Turnbuckle rating system and see if anyone earnt the newly prestigious A+!
Kabuki Warriors vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
The night started with the Kubuki Warriors, Kairi Sane and Asuka, defending their Women’s Tag Team titles against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in this inter-brand match. The titles have been somewhat meaningless over the last year with them really taking a back seat.
— WWE (@WWE) April 4, 2020
The two Japanese wrestlers really dominated this contest, controlling the large portion of the match and managing to isolate Cross from her best friend Bliss. The Warriors hit a hybrid version of the Doomsday Device on Cross but the Scot still managed to kick out.
Bliss would manage to get herself back into the match and hit a somewhat botched Twist of Bliss onto Sane which connected with her legs more than her body to win the match and allowed the best friends from Smackdown to win the Tag Team Titles for the first time. This match really showed just how good Cross is as she more than managed to hold her own throughout.
Turnbuckle Rating – D
King Corbin vs Elias
Elias tried to gain the early advantage in this match, striking Corbin over the back with his guitar before the bell rang. But the cheap shot didn’t help Elias that much as this match was a really competitive back and forth, with both men throwing the other into the ring posts several times.
But Elias would emerge victorious after Corbin tried to use the ring ropes as leverage to pin Elias, however the official would stop the count after noticing the King cheating and Elias would roll Corbin up to pick up the victory.
Turnbuckle Rating – D-
Becky Lynch vs Shayna Baszler
A year on from making Rhonda Rousey tap out in the main event of Wrestlemania 35 to win both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships, Becky Lynch would take on Rousey’s best friend Shayna Baszler.
This was an extremely physical contest between the two women, with both of them showing why they are two of the companies’ top competitors. The finish to this match came when The Man rolled up Baszler to retain her title in the same fashion that Sane did in NXT, showing Lynch did her research leading up to the contest.
This finish was a strange one for me, leading up to Wrestlemania it had all been about how dominant The Queen of Spades is as she tore through the entire field in the Elimination Chamber. So, it only seemed logical that Baszler would be crowned champion at The Show of Shows and end the reign of Lynch, who has already torn through everyone in the division. Despite this I still think Baszler will get her coronation down the line, with a re-match sure to be set at the next PPV.
Turnbuckle Rating – C+
Sami Zayn vs Daniel Bryan
Both men were accompanied down to the ring by their friends, with Sami Zayn bringing out his two partners in crime Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro. Daniel Bryan brought down to the ring his new friend Drew Gulak for some support and an attempt to even the odds.
Zayn spent much of the early portion of the match trying to avoid Bryan getting his hands on him, as he has done for many months previously. Gulak would take out Zayn’s muscle mid-way through the match, and in a cunning move from the former WWE champion, Bryan would gesture for Zayn to leave the ring and head to the back but would double cross the Canadian and finally get his hands on him.
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2020
The momentum would entirely shift Bryans way after this, but as he grew confident and attempted to hit a top rope finisher he would be caught by a Helluva Kick and Zayn would do what many men have failed to do and retain the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania.
Turnbuckle Rating – C
John Morrison vs Kofi Kingston vs Jimmy Uso Ladder Match
With The Miz unable to compete in this match the landscape was changed to just one member of each team competing for their tag team in a traditional Wrestlemania Ladder Match. The three men are arguably the three most athletic men in WWE, with their styles on display perfectly in this contest.
The three men would fly around from ladder to ladder throughout this entire match, doing whatever they could to win the titles for their team. The standout performer was, of course, the king of ladder matches, Kofi Kingston. A year on from Kofimania where he won the WWE Title, he would have another match of the night display.
.@TrueKofi = HUMAN HIGHLIGHT REEL
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) April 5, 2020
Kingston would even use his a flying hurricanrana onto Morrison who was climbing the ladder in one of many spots, with innovative action coming from all three men. The strangest finish in ladder match history occurred when all three men unhooked the belts from above the ring at the same time and had a tug of war for the titles, then Kingston and Uso headbutted Morrison who fell backwards off the ladders gripping the belts causing Morrison and Miz to retain their Smackdown Tag Team championships.
Turnbuckle Rating – B-
Seth Rollins vs Kevin Owens
This match was the culmination of a long blood feud between the two men as Owens grew tired of hearing The Monday Night Messiah week after week talk trash. Rollins told Owens that he could challenge him to a match anytime anywhere, and the former Universal Champion chose the grandest stage of them all.
Rollins would have the early momentum, hitting a Falcon Arrow onto the outside of the ring, which is as we know, the hardest part of the ring. The two men would go back and forth throughout this match, exchanging superkick after superkick. Rollins even kicked out of a Pop Up Powerbomb in what many thought was the finish of the match. But the match would end after Rollins hit Owens round the head with the ring bell to be disqualified in a cowardly attempt to avoid Owens.
But in a shock twist, Owens would call Rollins to come back down to the ring to restart the match under no disqualification rules this time. This new stipulation would take a brutal turn as Rollins would charge at Owens with the steel ring steps and attack him with a steel chair. Owens would exact his revenge on Rollins though, striking him back with the ring bell and would climb the Wrestlemania sign and leap off to hit an elbow onto Rollins who was laid out on the announce table.
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2020
This moment was the true big spectacle of the first night at Wrestlemania and will go down in history as a true Wrestlemania moment. Owens would then hit a stunner to Rollins inside the ring to pick up the pinfall victory and shut the Messiah up in the match of the night contest, and all be it in unusual circumstances, a match worthy of Wrestlemania.
Turnbuckle Rating – B+
Goldberg vs Braun Strowman
Strowman came into this match as a last-minute replacement for Roman Reigns, but no one expected the match to go the way it did. Goldberg came out the blocks fast, hitting four spears to Strowman who would not stay down and managed to kick out after the fourth. But then The Monster Amongst Men would hit the WWE Hall of Famer with four running power slams of his own to pin the man who went on the longest winning streak in WCW to win his first-ever Universal Title in a shock victory.
This match went the time and quality that everyone expected of it, with neither man being known for their wrestling ability it was always going to be a finisher spot fest. But none the less it did make for an exciting contest when Strowman kicked out of the fourth Spear and it was nice to finally see Strowman win the big one.
Turnbuckle Rating – D+
Undertaker vs AJ Styles Boneyard Match
Now it’s time for the main event of night one of Wrestlemania, which featured the greatest Wrestlemania performer in history, The Undertaker. This match will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most unique Mania matches. The production value of this contest was incredible, evoking Final Deletion from Matt Hardy in 2016.
Styles arrived inside a coffin within a hearse, but this certainly wasn’t the best entrance of the two. Undertaker would ride on down to the Boneyard riding his motorbike as the American Badass once again. Don’t get me wrong the quality of wrestling in this match was beyond poor, the two merely struck each other with an array of punches and kicks, but the overall presentation of the match was incredible.
The highlights of the match were endless, with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson bringing out a band of hooded figures to take out The Phenom only for him to dispose of them all one by one. Undertaker teleporting from inside the grave to behind the digger Styles was sat on to turn the tide of the match. The moment Undertaker stopped Styles dead in his tracks by producing flames from the roof of the barn, the list is truly endless.
The finish to the match came when Undertaker threw The Phenomenal One into the grave after a hellacious beatdown and buried the former NJPW Heavyweight Champion alive. The Undertaker mounted his motorbike and rode off into the darkness in front of a burning barn in what many believe could be his final match in WWE.
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) April 5, 2020
Turnbuckle Rating – B
So that was it for night one of Wrestlemania 36! It was without a doubt the strangest of circumstances, but WWE still managed to put on a great PPV and leave everyone excited for another night of non-stop action tonight. Of course, having the fans in attendance would’ve made for a much better atmosphere and a better show, but they managed to do their best with what they were given.
Turnbuckle PPV Rating – C+