I’m actually not expecting to finish the full show while I have it on, I’m going to attempt to review every match I see from the time the bell rings on the match until the bell rings on the next match. No writing further once the next match begins (on my stream). Either way, I plan to come back to this to update and see everything, but stick with me while I complete what I can.

Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre


Look at this goof.

-CM Punk on Seth Rollins, (WrestleMania XL Sunday 4/7/24)

I can sort of understand the intent here. McIntyre’s trying to blitz Rollins to get an early win after Rollins repeatedly ate shit the night before at the hands of “The Final Boss” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. So he goes for his finish early, he goes after the bad knee that Seth got worked over.

The problem is the match keeps going after that and neither man has any ideas here. McIntyre’s too stupid to know how to make the leg work interesting, and Seth is too inept and incapable to do anything but spam his finisher (and the finisher of the man who runs this company). There’s no ideas here except an ad nauseam repetition of big bombs without escalation or shifting strategy. Only a back and forth rhythm of Curb Stomp, Claymore, Curb Stomp, Claymore until one finally actually mercifully ends this match.

And then the foolishness to have the heel who rushed an injured man to celebrate with his family and cry in the ring. I understand the importance of the moment, and that’s probably just sincerity on Drew’s part, but it’s also a demonstration of how unserious and uncommitted anyone is to what they’re trying to do here.

Rating: **

Drew McIntyre vs. Damien Priest


Eww, should have been Bad Bunny instead.

Rating: absolutely not

Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits vs. The Final Testament


Bland gimmick match where nothing lands and Bubba Ray Dudley somehow is able to waddle himself into the ring to get a single nostalgia pop. Montez hit a sick dive though. There’s literally nothing else to say.

Rating: *1/2

AJ Styles vs. LA Knight


Once again, the efforts of one of the 2000s super indie luminaries forces something decent through sheer effort of will. For the first time on the show so far, a match has an honest to god structure. This time, it’s an LA Knight babyface shine only interrupted by Styles going after a leg. Unlike McIntyre previously, AJ actually knows how to go after a bad limb and makes the effort feel interesting. Structurally too, AJ’s the one eating shit on big bumps and moments to make LA Knight’s comebacks feel worthwhile.

Unfortunately, LA Knight sucks and can’t sell a leg to save his life which makes all of AJ’s effort not only misguided but in absolute vain. You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

Rating: **1/2

Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton


Nauseating bullshit. If its advertising qualities weren’t so obvious, it should have come with some kind of disclaimer in the corner of the screen that says “Sponsored” content. In that sense, a totally soulless thing. Exists only for advertisement with subzero artistic ambition or merit. Demanding an apology from everyone who spent the last year or so saying Logan Paul was decent or good, I refute that idea wholeheartedly. Like so many other losers working right now, he’s only someone who’s mastered the most shallow elements of professional wrestling–a baseline athleticism, the occasional wink and mugging for the camera. It’s hard to blame him entirely, he was trained to perform for the most empty company in the world, and he is a walking embodiment of everything the WWE is: an advertisement to sell product. Fuck that guy and his stupid energy drink. The kind of stupid match that people tweet “I was thoroughly sports entertained” about because no one can say anything seriously good about it. Props to Owens and Orton for treating it with the respect it deserves: absolutely none with no real effort involved.

Rating: *3/4

IYO SKY vs. Bayley


Very fun match overall. It’s the third leg work match of the night and Bayley’s selling might be the best one yet. She really gets across the idea that everything she has to do feels a little more labored and that there’s just a little more struggle behind everything that otherwise might have come easy. Bit of a double edged sword though just because IYO’s arsenal doesn’t really lend itself too strongly to a leg work style match, but it’s cool that Bayley stays mostly mindful of it for a majority of the runtime.

With IYO though, there’s just a little bit of a struggle for me. Her striking especially has felt off since coming to the fed in general, things that I’ve seen her do that look absolutely killer elsewhere just don’t land well here. Take that big palm strike to Bayley in the corner, for example. That would have taken someone’s head off before, but it’s just a glancing blow here. That being said, flashes of that killer do still come out now and then, those stray elbows at the start or the big slaps to the face all feel rather crisp. And what IYO still does have is that speed and recklessness in her high flying arsenal. There’s still smoothness coming off the top, those moonsaults still stun, and when focusing more on that wilder bombfest, high octane kind of match, it works out really well. It’s that final stretch too where the crowd actually invests in the actual action instead of preoccupying themselves with a chant that has no root in actually being present and responding to the wrestlers, so props to these two for actually getting them into it.

Good match, easily best of the night, some genuine pro wrestling.

UPDATE (4/8/24): Went back for this match to see what more I might get from it on a second viewing. What really stands out here is just a truly fantastic Bayley performance. As I mentioned above, the foundation of that is her truly wonderful leg selling, and how much of that match it informs. It comes up in so many small ways that don’t often cross the minds of lesser workers. First, how she plants the idea of it with an initial limp after her first tope, then how much the action affects the injury even in moments that don’t strictly involve her leg. Perhaps the best example here is the back suplex attempt mid-match which leads her to hobble because she put IYO’s weight on the same side of her body as the bad leg. Even at the finish too, when Bayley sets up IYO for the elbow, it’s not with a Bayley-to-Belly which would have impacted her knees, but with a back suplex instead.

I still remain a little less impressed with IYO here. There’s a smoothness to the final moments to be sure, and those early strikes pop a little better in hindsight too, but it’s still a bit of an inconsistent bout for her here. As a vehicle to Bayley’s big babyface moment though, incredibly serviceable.

Evens out overall to a bump to great level.

Rating: ***3/4

Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes

Full review here.

One Comment

  1. Funniest wrestling review I have ever read. Never change. Big fan of your writing. Looking forward to your Night 1 review (if are able to sit through it).

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