Wrestling Review: WWE Wrestlemania 39 (Night 2) (2023)

For the second straight night, the WWE superstars take over Hollywood for Wrestlemania 39. In the main event, biggest match of Cody Rhodes’ life as the Royal Rumble winner faces the dominant Undisputed WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns, with the title on the line. Meanwhile, Bianca Belair looks to continue her incredible run as WWE Raw Women’s Champion when she contends with Asuka, and GUNTHER faces two of the hardest hitting men in the WWE in Sheamus and Drew McIntyre with the Intercontinental Championship up for grabs. Brock Lesnar will come in to his match as a rare underdog when he battles the Nigerian Giant, Omos and Edge and Finn Balor each look to put the final nail in the other’s coffin when they meet inside Hell in a Cell. Finally, four of the WWE’s top female tag teams will compete in a Wrestlemania showcase match, where the winner will surely become the number one contenders for Becky Lynch and Lita’s WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.

+ Roman Reigns (c) vs Cody Rhodes (Undisputed WWE Universal Championship): it’s almost difficult to review this one, because everything in it we’ve seen before in one capacity or another. Rhodes was white hot, but I think Zayn was hotter in Montreal. Reigns was hated, but I think he has been hated just as much as Clash at the Castle and in Montreal. Both guys did great wrestling, as you’d expect, and the shenanigans made it extra exciting and special leading to the finish that I think everyone will remember for a long time. This was a really good main event across two nights of generally really good matches
+ Bianca Belair (c) vs Asuka (WWE Raw Women’s Championship): this match was really good, and I think the only reasons it wasn’t an all-time great is because: (1), it followed the IC title triple threat, and; (2), Charlotte/Rhea on the previous night was also fantastic. Asuka is having something of a career resurgence since the Rumble, and I like Belair a lot, even if her schtick is sort of running low on fuel. I can never get over just how strong and athletic Belair is
+ GUNTHER (c) vs Sheamus vs Drew McIntyre (WWE Intercontinental Championship): if GUNTHER/Sheamus at Clash at the Castle was a 10, then this was an 11. Every single thing about this match was absolutely incredible and I have gone back to rewatch it three times in the last two days and I still can’t help but wince and laugh at the brutality these three put each other through. This is what I want from my Wrestlemania, and you need to go out of your way to see this match
+ Brock Lesnar vs Omos (w/ MVP): this wasn’t pretty, but this sort of spectacle is exactly what I want from Wrestlemania. Lesnar was bright purple in the face very early, as I was genuinely impressed with the power Omos showed against a man renown for his strength in Lesnar. This was ugly but fun, and best of all short

“Brood” Edge vs “The Demon” Finn Balor (Hell In A Cell): I am absolutely thrilled that the red Hell in a Cell structure has been replaced with the old school grey steel, because it actually made this watchable. I am not happy to say that I really didn’t care for this match at all. It was going relatively well, if a somewhat standard HIAC match, but then the referee tried to stop the match to tend to a bleeding cut, and I lost all interest. I hated the way that Corey Graves on commentary (most likely through no fault of his own) tried to make it sound like the referee was doing the right thing, because I don’t believe that at all. Edge’s HIAC against Rollins a few years ago was much better, and Balor came out looking like a bit of a chump. Note that there’s no doubt in my mind he would have just kept going like normal, blood or no blood, but it is what it is
Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs Shotzi & Natalya vs Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville vs Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler: I’ll try and be nice and just call this absolute garbage. Nobody looked good, I think Shayna was injured, Ronda is wearing incredibly thin for me, and if I was Raquel or Liv Morgan and this was the match I was told I was having after the effort they have put in all year, I’d be furious
– once again, Miz and Snoop Dogg were out for some corporate bootlicking. It led to something which sucked, but at least Snoop saved the entire segment

Should you watch this event: If you took the positive matches from each night and disregarded the negatives, I think you would have easily had one of the best single Wrestlemania events of all time. If WWE was willing to cut down on the dead air between matches, they could have done the ~8 positives I have listed across two nights in 4.5 hours, and there would not be a negative reception by anyone that watched.


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