Zayn and Owens win as Ripley is stunning
If Night 1 of WrestleMania serves as an appetizer to what could be a historic Sunday, then WWE has done its job.
All the right notes were hit, outside of Austin Theory beating John Cena to retain the United States Championship like he did in Saturday night’s opener at SoFi Stadium.
Although the surprises left something to be desired, WWE delivered the right conclusions to its biggest storylines, a moving main event, and solidified its new female star.
Here are five takeaways from Night 1 of WrestleMania.
Part I completed
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn end The Uso’s 622-day reign as the undisputed tag team champions just dripped with emotion.
From the two best friends becoming tag champions for the first time in WWE in the first tag title main event in WrestleMania history, to the PWG Los Angeles logos on their short, to Zayn’s wife crying at the edge from the ring when it was over.
The clash was not a technical classic, but it was not necessary.
It was about the ride and a year of released emotions.
Uso’s 1-D and stereo splashes weren’t enough to take down Zayn and Owens, as were the early Stunners and Helluva Kicks.
Late in the game, Zayn foiled a 1-D Avalanche attempt and eventually got the tag from Owens.
Zayn, after a long break, Helluva kicked Jey Uso three times.
Owens stunned Jimmy before the third before pinning his brother-turned-friend rival to win the match.
Zayn gets beat up and Owens flies in to help him But at one point, Jimmy and Jey slam Owens through the announce table. Zayn sort of kicked out of a 1-D, the first time anyone did it.
Jey asked Zayn why he wasn’t giving up before delivering a Helluva Kick to the former Honorary Uce.
Zayn, almost our instinct, followed with a turnbuckle exploder before tagging Owens – now a Grand Slam champion – back. Helluva Kicks, Pop-up powerbombs and a Stunner followed, but Jey kicked out. Both teams gave each other their best shots until Zayn and Owens prevailed.
Cody Rhodes didn’t come out to celebrate with his friend, but his WWE Undisputed Universal Championship match with Roman Reigns on Sunday topped it all.
The Bloodline has already lost gold, will Rhodes finish the job now and send them into chaos?
Stomp and circumstance
Logan Paul and Seth Rollins put on a show stealing level performance.
Paul came in getting lifted a bit for a zipline halfway up the ramp where he was met by his drink mascot PRIME.
Rollins, wrapped in a sumptuous red dress, had a full choir singing his theme and pyro fire from the top of the stage in one of the coolest entrances of the night.
Rollins reversed Paul’s early advantage by dodging a moon jump, then telling him, “You wanna play with the big boy bitch” before three consecutive suicide dives.
The seer then stomped on Paul’s right hand on the steps.
After a number of fun mat reversals between the two, Paul landed his KO right hand.
But the stomping made him slow to cover and allowed Rollins to pull away.
KSI, Paul’s buddy and business partner, ended up being part of the PRIME mascot. He pulled Paul out of the ring to swing the momentum at one point.
Paul was setting Rollins up on the table, but Rollins pulled KSI onto the table instead, leaving Paul to land the splash instead of his friend. Rollins hit a Pedigree in the ring, but Paul kicked out.
Paul countered a Stomp attempt into a GTS, then took too many to attempt a Frog Splash. Rollins kicked.
As Paul tried to go coast to coast, Rollins countered with a super kick A Stomp later and Rollins took the win thanks to a huge crowd reaction.
The dude is way over the top and deserved this win, but I feel like we’ll see that again soon.
Family pride with bunny stuff
I expect Bad Bunny to be added to The Judgment Day vs LWO feud somehow for Backlash in Puerto Rico next month after the artist helped Rey Mysterio defeat his son Dominik in a very story-driven, yet moving match.
Dominik distracted the referee by removing the turnbuckle cover and attempted to grab a chain that Damian Priest had left under his jacket in the ring.
Bunny, who was on the Spanish commentary, grabbed his chain from Dominik could use it.
This allowed Rey to trip his son and deliver the 619 and Frog Splash to pick up the win. It was a very fitting end to Rey’s Hall of Fame weekend story.
Rey and Dominik had terrific starters. Dom was shown getting out of prison handcuffs and arriving at SoFi Stadium — dressed in his father’s purple face mask — in a correctional van flanked by officers.
Rey paid tribute to Eddie Guerrero by being chased by Snoop Dogg in a low car and with Eddie’s music first.
After Rey dumped Dominik at the post, he actually took off his belt and whipped his son’s skin after months of torment.
Dominik then bit that mom and threw a drink in her sister Aalyah’s face to get the upper hand in the match.
Dom’s mother would slap him later in the match.
Priest and Finn Balor finally made it to ringside.
Dom flipped Rey into the bottom rope before attempting the Three Amigos.
Rey replied, hitting a 619 but interference from Judgment Day cut the momentum short.
Eventually, the newly formed LWO evened the odds, but Dominik still managed to land 619 and a frog splash, but Rey kicked before the streak was over.
The wind has turned
Rhea Ripley was striving for a star performance and she and Charlotte Flair fought their way to one.
It took Ripley slamming Flair’s head into the top of the ring post and hitting a Riptide from the middle rope to finally ward off her nemesis and become SmackDown Women’s Champion and avenge her loss at WrestleMania 36.
The win officially marks her as a main event talent and earned one of the biggest pops of the night.
The crowd entered this match midway through as the two really started to show their athleticism and power. Ripley curled up and lifted a leaping Flair, which then countered a Riptide into a big DDT. Flair stepped over Ripley and went to the top rope.
Ripley ran and suplexed Flair, flipping her face first in the process, but couldn’t score the pin.
Flair took a second suplex, spun around and landed face down later as she went the extra mile to make Ripley look good.
A second attempt by Ripetide was blocked into a German suplex, but Ripley landed the third and Flair kicked out to a gasp of disbelief from the crowd.
A kick from Ripley brought out the rage as the two dug deep.
Ripley reached the bottom rope before Flair could even put the figure 8 and you could see the frustration on Queen’s face before she took a risk on the ropes which led to her loss.
Flair sitting outside the ring sad but cheering as Ripley stood above him with the belt was a cool visual.
John Cena dominated early and teased Theory a bit, which led to the champion biting his idol and kicking him from behind in frustration.
A super cocky Theory attempted a second putt, but Cena countered into an STF that forced his opponent to have to bite him to break the hold.
The theory countered a first attitude adjustment in a DDT.
Cena then managed to land a Five Knuckle Shuffle, but the referee was knocked out as Theory countered an AA attempt.
The ref couldn’t see Theory tapping the STF.
This opened a door for a low kick and an A-Town Down that allowed the champ to hold.
I guess cheating puts more heat on Theory and reinforces that he’s willing to take shortcuts.
But it was a baseline game and a pretty disappointing start to the show. Cena’s last win at WrestleMania came with Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33 in 2017, he’s late.
Becky Lynch, Lita Trish Stratus on Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Sky
Lynch did most of the work early on, but Damage CTRL prevented her from making a tag.
Eventually, Lita got involved and mixed her up with Iyo Sky, but was isolated by Damage CTRL before finally tagging Stratus. She had a cool bulldog and a half hurricane on Sky and Bayley.
She also swung Kai off the top rope outward with her legs after a boost from her teammates.
Sky delivered their signature moonsault on the outside, leaving everyone down.
The two teams then regrouped in the ring.
Stratus hit a Chick Kick and Lita a Lita-sault to deal with Sky and Kia.
That left Lynch to counter Bayley’s attempt at Bayley’s Belly off the top rope in a Manhandle Slam for the win.
Stratus and Lita did a great job playing the hits and this match was about as good as expected.
No sign of Stratus potentially activating on Lynch and Damage CTRL seems a bit rudderless after that.
We’ll see what happens on Monday.
Street Profits on Chad Gable and Otis, The Viking Raiders, Braun Strowman and Ricochet
Chad Gable did an insane German suplex on Braun Strowman, who then made a big splash off the top rope.
We also had a six-man super-plex and Ricochet jumped in to finish. Angelo Dawkins cut the Strowman Express with a slimy shoulder block.
Ricochet hit a soft Shooting Star pressure to the outside, but Dawkins got on his knees on one in the ring.
This opened the door for Montez Ford to hit a Frog Splash for the win.
The Street Profits could be next in line for a tag team title after that.
Credit to the eight men for a thief level performance.
Pat McAfee on The Miz
McAfee made a surprise appearance to beat the Miz in an impromptu match.
Miz tried to leave but attacked the 49ers’ George Kittle, who was sitting at ringside. Kittle jumped the barricade and clotheslines Miz before McAfee jumped off the top rope on top of him and beat Miz with a high Punt Kick to minimal reach.
Corey Graves’ outstanding commentary was the only thing worth watching.
He called McAfee “Aaron Rodgers’ propaganda machine” and made fun of him the whole time. We need a Graves-McAfee game at some point, for real.
Big winner: Rhea Ripley
The Biggest Loser: CTRL damage
Best match: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley, SmackDown Women’s Championship
Best Entry: Dominik Mysterio
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