Wrestling Review: WWE Wrestlemania 39 (Night 1) (2023)

The biggest stars in all of entertainment take over tinsel town when Wrestlemania goes Hollywood! The first night of action from Wrestlemania 39 will see three championships determined, including The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) of The Bloodline defending their Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships in the main event against the reunited best friends, Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley will also receive the championship match she earned against Charlotte Flair with the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship on the line, and int he opening contest on the show, John Cena returns to battle Austin Theory for the WWE United States Championship. Seth Rollins will be in action against social media mega star Logan Paul, and Rey Mysterio will finally come to blows against his own son, Dominik Mysterio of The Judgement Day. Two WWE Hall of Famers, Lita and Trish Stratus, will team up with Becky Lynch to battle the trio of Damage CTRL (Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai) and a special tag team showcase match will see four of the WWE’s top men’s tag teams compete in what is essentially a number one contendership match against whoever leaves the main event as Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champion.

+ The Usos (Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso) (c) vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships): there is not a whole lot I can say about this match other than it was incredible, and one of the best tag team matches in WWE history. Would Sami Zayn winning the title from Roman in Canada have been better? Yeah, probably, but this was absolutely the next best match he could have had, and the story with Owens/Zayn and both the Usos over the past several years now has all culminated in this match. Maybe there were too many superkicks, and maybe there was too much downtime at the end, but overall this was everything it needed to be
+ Charlotte Flair (c) vs Rhea Ripley (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship): this was my match of the night and one of the best women’s matches I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s not often Charlotte is the “underdog” in terms of size and power, but against Rhea she certainly was, and I think that made the match better. Charlotte got beat up real bad a few times, including a brutal suplex literally onto her face. This was great, and were the Tag Titles not in a more important story right now, I would have easily had this as the main event
+ Rey Mysterio vs Dominik Mysterio: from the story that begun between Rey and Edge and The Judgement Day months ago until this match, everything has been perfect. I loved this match. Dom is a future star, and it doesn’t matter that he’s not a very good wrestler because the crowd east up everything he does. This match was full of good wrestling, though, because Rey Mysterio is undeniably an all time greatest wrestler in history, and there is no debating that. I think this match is going to be the stepping stone for Dominik into greatness
+ Seth Rollins vs Logan Paul: there are probably few better as all around performers than Seth Rollins in the WWE right now, but both men here showed off fantastic athleticism. Logan Paul in particular, while still missing that music between the notes, does such insane things with such ease. His matches are clearly rehearsed or at the very least planned out, but I am always in awe at just how easy he makes everything he does look
+ Ricochet & Braun Strowman vs Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) vs Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) (w/ Valhalla) vs The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford): this was entirely unnecessary, but seeing Gable and Montez do the bonkers things they can do was worth it. Outside of maybe Ricochet/Strowman, I think all of these teams deserve more than they are being given, especially as The Usos have essentially held the tag titles hostage for what feels like ten years at this point (I think it’s about 600 days in reality). I enjoyed this, but I also wasn’t expecting too much from it
+ Austin Theory (c) vs John Cena (WWE United States Championship): it just doesn’t feel like Wrestlemania without Cena shouting upcoming moments in his matches. I can see such a huge upside to Austin Theory and I think this match, whether he won or lost, will help him a lot in that regard. Cena is of course well past his best days in the ring, but he has such a huge superstar aura about him that it made this match feel special even when the in-ring work itself wasn’t actually anything of the sort

Damage CTRL (Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai) vs Becky Lynch, Lita & Trish Stratus: I did not care for this at all, and it was the first (and in hindsight, only) negative match on the card. I don’t care for Becky and Lita as tag team champions, and I don’t care for Trish coming back in 2023 or Iyo being wasted in a goofy bad guy trio. This was not good
– the various Miz segments throughout the night were just corporate fluff, but even Snoop Dogg wasn’t enough to make me care about it all

Should you watch this event: This was very easily one of the best Wrestlemanias (or “Wrestlemania Saturday” if you want to call it that) that WWE has ever done, and was well worth watching in full (skipping the between-the-match garbage, as always). If the second night is just as good, then Wrestlemania 39 will go down as an all time great.


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