WWE WrestleMania 36 night one match star ratings revealed

The first half of WWE's spring spectacular WrestleMania brought a mixture of the good, the bad and the outright surreal.

Despite the unprecedented circumstances the world is experiencing, it was business largely as usual for WWE, as Vince McMahon pressed ahead with delivering the biggest show in the pro wrestling calendar.

The usual stadium experience with tens of thousands in attendance had to make way for an empty Performance Centre in Orlando, Florida due to the coronavirus crisis and the event was also pre-recorded (it was taped during the week beginning March 23).

This, in part, led to WWE's decision to split WrestleMania over two nights, for the first time in the event's history.

 

Following a short pre-show contest that saw Cesaro defeat Drew Gulak, the main card kicked off and delivered eight matches.

Our resident star ratings aficionado, Mo Chatra, gives his verdict here – each match is rated out of six, with any match rated five stars or more generally considered to be an all-time classic.

Asuka & Kairi Sane (c) vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross

WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Match:  

Following a subdued start, this 15-minute encounter got going in the final few minutes. The match ended when Alexa hit the Twisted Bliss on Sane to capture the tag titles. Fine performances from Cross and Sane made this a good opener.

Rating: ***

King Corbin vs. Elias

Singles match

Corbin came out and claimed Elias would not be able to wrestle after he pushed WWE's resident guitar strummer off a 20ft high balcony. Elias still emerged, not selling any effects of his fall. The two then commenced their match, but it was wholly underwhelming. Elias mercifully brought this to an end after nine minutes following a roll-up.

Rating: *1/2

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler 

WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match

Becky arrived at the arena in her semi-truck. Lynch showed fire but the story of the match was all about Baszler dominating the champion.

The contest was developing into a really good bout, but Becky flipped over on a Kirafuda Clutch to secure a surprise title-retaining pin. A clever finish that keeps Baszler strong, but this encounter didn't quite fulfil its potential.

Rating: **3/4

Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

Intercontinental Championship Match

On paper, this had 'Match of WrestleMania' potential – Zayn and Bryan are elite workers on their day. But it came nowhere close to delivering to the levels both men are capable of.

There was plenty of interference involving Zayn's seconds – Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro – as well as Bryan's ally, Drew Gulak. Like the previous bout, the finish came out of nowhere with a Helluva Kick for victory.

Rating: **1/2

John Morrison (c) vs. Jimmy Uso vs. Kofi Kingston

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match

This bout was originally scheduled as a Triple Threat tag team match, but after The Miz was withdrawn from the card after showing symptoms of Covid-19, it was turned into a contest featuring one individual from each of the three teams.

It featured an array of cool spots, but a stuntfest like this comes across so much better with crowd reactions. Nonetheless, all three individuals worked hard and the final spot was original, which saw a three-way tussle atop ladders end with John Morrison falling to the mat with both belts in hand, as Uso and Kingston held the ring. Good fun.

Rating: ***3/4

Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens

Singles match

The 'Monday Night Messiah' Seth Rollins is reborn with his fresh, heel persona. He and Owens fought at an energetic pace before it appeared we had yet another premature finish, when Rollins was disqualified for clocking KO with the ring bell.

Owens demanded the match be restarted under no disqualification rules. The pair then upped the action and pasted one another – including Owens landing an incredible elbow-drop onto Rollins from the top of the WrestleMania sign behind the commentary position.

Owens then returned to the ring with Rollins, hit him with a stunner and pinned him for the win. This was enjoyable, and it was nice to see Owens get a big, high-profile victory.

Rating: ***1/2

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Goldberg (c) vs. Braun Strowman

Universal Championship Match

Braun Strowman was a replacement for Roman Reigns, who missed the show due to health risks involved with travelling to and from this event. To nobody's surprise, the two behemoths didn’t assemble a 30-minute mat clinic; the contest lasted less than three minutes and saw Goldberg fail to finish the bout following four spears.

Strowman then landed four powerslams – the final one a running version – to end this and finally become Universal Champion. Short but not very sweet.

Rating: *

 

The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles

Boneyard Match 

Night one's main event took place at a graveyard. First to arrive was AJ Styles, who turned up in a casket driven into said location on a hearse, while accompanied by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The Undertaker – reminiscent of his American Badass days – arrived on a Harley Davidson.

This was more like a cinematic fight scene than it was a conventional pro wrestling contest, but it was still highly dramatic and very entertaining. It featured background music, impressive cinematography, special effects and various twists and turns, which kept everyone guessing about the eventual outcome.

Just as it looked like AJ was going to inflict only the second loss of Taker's career, 'The Deadman' appeared behind Styles on the digger – when just a moment earlier he was prone at the bottom of a 6ft deep grave – and he mounted a great comeback to eventually leave Styles buried under a mound of dirt.

Some will have loved this, others will loathe it with a passion, but it made for quite the spectacle.

Rating: ****

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