WWE 2020 Wrestlemania 36 Review (Night 2): McIntyre's Win, Cena Vs. The Fiend, And More
The second night of Wrestlemania is set to include some of the most-anticipated wrestling matches of 2020. Naturally, GameSpot has a lot of thoughts about that.
On the heels of Night 1 of Wrestlemania 36, there's still a lot more in store. For the first time ever, WWE's biggest annual show is taking place over two nights, without a live audience. All told, over 15 matches are being presented as part of this year's showcase of the immortals.
The first installment of Wrestlemania 36 saw Braun Strowman win the Universal Championship, AJ Styles and the Undertaker compete in the first-ever Boneyard Match, and so many more memorable moments. If you missed the first half of the show, you should take a look at GameSpot's results and review for Night 1.
Now, Night 2 is upon us. Brock Lesnar is defending the WWE Championship, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt is luring John Cena into his Firefly Funhouse, and finally fans will see Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley face off. There's so much planned for Night 2, and chances are you aren't going to want to miss it.
Whether you're tuning in or not, though, you aren't going to want to miss out on what happens during the second half of Wrestlemania 36--or whether it's any good. Luckily, GameSpot's Wrestle Buddies Chris E. Hayner and Mat Elfring are here for you. Follow along with the Night 2 live review below, and keep an eye on the show results, as well.
Wrestlemania 36 Night 2 kicks off with the preshow at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT on the WWE Network. You can check out the full card below, followed by the match-by-match review. Then, if you missed out on Night 1, take a look at photos from the event.
Wrestlemania 36 Night 2 Match Card:
- Liv Morgan vs. Natalya (KICKOFF SHOW)
- Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
- Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza & Austin Theory (Raw Tag Team Championship)
- Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi (Elimination Match for Smackdown Women's Championship)
- Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
- Edge vs. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing)
- John Cena vs. The Fiend (Firefly Funhouse Match)
- Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (NXT Women's Championship)
- Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship)
1. Natalya vs. Liv Morgan
Winner: Liv Morgan via pinball
Chris: I'm too tired for how quiet this match is. Unlike Mat, I do care about these wrestlers. That said, neither of them have been invested in anything remotely interesting in...forever? Poor Liv only has that awful Ruvev/Lashley feud, while Nattie is probably on the show sometimes.
As for this match, I know this is the kickoff show and not the main card, but in a situation like this, Wrestlemania needs a hotter start. Drew Gulak and Cesaro had the same issue in Night 1. Filler matches like this work when there's an audience, but not in the Performance Center.
Ultimately, Liv won after a round of dueling rollups, mercifully ending this one.
Mat: Oh boy! It's a match I have zero investment in. I don't care for either of these wrestlers. I don't even know the story between them, beyond "Liv Morgan is no longer hooking up with Lana who divorced Rusev so she could squeeze Bobby Lashley's glutes." We're 30 minutes into Night 2, and I've already referenced Lashley's butt--remember that weird storyline with Lio Rush?
I really shouldn't be starting off this jaded because last night was a ton of fun. Maybe there shouldn't have been Kickoff Show matches. This feels pointless. Both of these wrestlers deserve to be involved in something better than a throwaway match with no story. It wasn't a bad match by any means, but it wasn't a good way to kickoff the whole event. It's forgettable and bland.
2. Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair (NXT Women's Championship)
Winner: Charlotte Flair via submission
Chris: I love Rhea Ripley. That needed to be said, first and foremost. I'm beyond excited she's getting a Wrestlemania moment against Charlotte Flair, and it would have played amazingly in front of a stadium packed full of people. That said, for my money, they are not really losing much wrestling in the Performance Center. These two are among the very best WWE has and are making a statement by having one of the best matches we've seen from Wrestlemania 36 so far. It's a very different match than Becky Lynch vs. Shayne Baszler because it's not about hate, it's about being the very best. These two out-maneuvering and out-wrestling each other, trading momentum back and forth, is just wonderful.
This match is just painful to watch in the best possible way. Watching Charlotte take her time picking apart Ripley's knee was masterful--as was Ripley's constant selling. I don't necessarily agree with the decision to give Charlotte the win here, but at least Ripley more than held her own. It'll be interesting to see what Charlotte being back in the NXT goal means for the brand once they resume regular programming.
Mat: We're starting with this? Hell yeah. Here's a match that doesn't need an audience at all because it is what you would call one of those barn burners. Sure, the crowd would be going nuts for this one, but these two are killing it in the ring, and nothing else matters.
I really like matches where Flair taps into her brutal side and goes all-out on an opponent. She spent most of the match working Ripley's knee, and it's like something snapped inside her. Flair does a wonderful job at bringing her character into the ring, which is the icing on the cake for the match. On the flip side, Ripley isn't a jobber being served to someone on the main roster. She's just as brutal and can easily stand toe-to-toe with Flair. And she sold her knee throughout the match, incredibly well, leading to the finish.
Flair winning the championship was a big surprise. I did not expect it to go that way, but it works. And hopefully, we can see another match between these two. This was a real rad way to start the main card.
3. Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
Winner: Aleister Black via pinfall
Chris: It's the battle of pointless time-wasting and it's even more awkward without anybody there to chant "boring." My big takeaway from this match is that Lashley wears pants now, as opposed to short shorts. This whole debacle is unfortunate because Black could be a serious contender within WWE and hopefully will be one day. Lashley has yet to find any sort of groove since returning to the company and at some point, that's going to have to change or we'll all collectively lose our minds.
I have literally nothing good to say here, outside of being glad Black got the victory. The Black Mass kick looked impressive, but this was little more than a time filler.
Mat: Well, it's been a while since I talked about Bobby Lashley's butt, and sadly, I will not really be able to do so again, as Bobby has chosen to wear those longboys for this battle. This was a match, and the only moment that really grabbed my attention was when Lana demanded Lashley spear Black. Then, Lashley made a kissy face, winked, and pointed at his wife, and I laughed a bunch. That cost him the match, taking advice from Lana. I enjoyed nothing else about this. Bye!
2.5/10 (Again, I had a really good laugh)
4. Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
Chris: It's very strange that this match was booked after Black/Lashley, because it's a bit of a time-filler itself. That said, I don't dislike the storyline behind this one, even if it's incredibly cliched. It gives Heavy Machinery something to do instead of being involved in the Tag Team Championships picture, and gives Dolph Ziggler a reason to sell like only he can.
This match was fine, nothing more and nothing less. It would have been fine on an episode of Smackdown or a lower-level pay-per-view. This isn't a Wrestlemania quality match, but that seems to happen every year. In the end, the hero got the win, the girl, and the Wrestlemania moment.
Mat: I know there are plenty of people that are really into this story line, but it is not my cup of tea. Also, Chris is mad at me because I enjoyed the Rusev/Lana storyline--but it was one of those car wreck stories I found I couldn't stop laughing at. Rusev/Lana was played straight, but came off as a comedy. This story revolves around Otis being the comedic foil, and it is way too silly for me, which is ironic because I typically love silly. Whatever. It wasn't a bad match, it had a happy ending, and there were a bunch of low-blow moments and Otis saying, "So pretty" as he carried Mandy Rose to the backstage.
5. Edge vs. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing Match)
Winner: Edge is the last man standing
Chris: Eventually the RKO's can't be considered to becoming from out of nowhere because we always know they're coming. So when Orton started this match off with two of them, they were definitely out of somewhere.
This match is filled with so much brutality that it's oftentimes uncomfortable due to the silence that comes with having no audience. It's just these two men decimating each other throughout a gym, and both seemingly being exhausted the whole time--as Mat points out below. I understand that when a wrestler comes back from a major injury, WWE likes to play into that injury as part of a storyline but watching attacks on Edge's neck is not entertaining.
It's obvious these two put their all into this match, and there's no telling what kind of bout it would have been had Wrestlemania not changed so drastically. This isn't the match I expected or wanted from either of these competitors. It's not fun or entertaining. It's just hard to look at, long, and makes me tired. I also don't really need to see edge jumping off of tall things after being out of action for nine years due to his penchant for jumping off of tall things.
Maybe they should have gotten weird and given this one a Boneyard Match-esque presentation. How did this go on so long and somehow be so quiet? It was too much for too long and I can't wait to see Edge have his first actual singles match of his return.
Mat: Randy Orton pretending to be a cameraman, only to sneak into the ring to RKO Edge was an awesome way to start off the match. However, four minutes in, after a few punches and kicks, both men can barely stand, and I keep thinking back to Ripley vs. Flair, who went over 20 minutes and weren't nearly this tired-seeming by the end of it.
I tuned out a bit for a lot of this match. I just nerded out about the Performance Center a lot--as I did a press trip there a few years back. I got to tell my wife things like, "I peed in that bathroom back there." She was not impressed. Anyway, this match is slow, and it's not really doing anything for me. Edge punches Randy--or vice versa--there's a beat, some more punches, then a big spot. It's too slow-paced to be this formulaic.
The commentary team isn't doing this match any justice either. At the 25 minute mark, I'm wondering why this is still happening. This isn't fun to watch at all. I am bored.
At this point, this is the longest match of the night, and the only thing memorable about it is the elbow drop off the chain link fence on the ceiling of the conference room--yes, that really exists there. It was 36 minutes long. This was way too long. I just want these two to have a regular, old fashion match against each other.
6. Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza & Austin Theory (Raw Tag Team Championship)
Winners: Street profits via pinfall
Chris: This match was short, which I'm thankful about. The team of Angel Garza and Austin Theory challenging for the Raw Tag Team Championships still makes almost no sense. That said, everyone here was very entertaining with what they had to do in the match, plus the post-match angle was a blast. Bianca Belair, it seems, has been called up to the main roster and aligned herself with the Street Profits, which rules. (For those who didn't know, Belair is married to Street Profit member Montez Ford.)
Mat: I was actually excited for this match, after the 36-minute snoozefest before it, but this was a real short one, which bummed me out. Regardless, it was a lot of fun, with some great high-flying spots. It feels like WWE is finally getting the tag team division back on track, even if the team of Garza and Theory makes no sense at all.
We also got to see Bianca Belair come out, and I'm hoping she's moving to the main roster now. There is not much else a lot to say here. It should have been longer, but we got a solid match that did a great job at getting the audience back into the action and excited about what's coming next.
7. Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi (5-Way Elimination Match for Smackdown Women's Championship)
Winner: Bayley via pinfall
Chris: I love a good, old fashioned scramble match. The Smackdown Women's Championship has been lost in the shuffle for months, which is unfortunate because Bayley is doing some of the best work of her career as the heel champion. This being an elimination makes for some interesting possibilities, but ultimately, we all wind up waiting for when Sasha and Bayley finally come to blows.
That didn't happen, though. And, honestly, that's smart. It'll happen eventually, so milk it for all its worth. I really enjoyed this bout. I'm still very unsure about Lacey Evans as a babyface, but the fire she showed here was very good and made me want to see her chase the title more. Meanwhile, Bayley has perfected her heel character and remains a great champion.
Mat: I love a good elimination match. The stakes aren't as high--as a single pin won't end the match--but competitors have to pace themselves in order to get through everyone else. However, you know what's a bit weird when there isn't a crowd making noise or mildly distracting you? You pay a lot more attention to the fact that people are just laying around while two people hit spots in the ring.
What I really enjoyed about this match is that it sets up the split between Bayley and Sasha Banks--and the eventual match between them. I loved the finish here, which saw Banks return to the ring, give the Backstabber to Evans, and help Bayley get the win. Lots of great building for the story between Bayley and Banks.
8. John Cena vs. The Fiend (Firefly Funhouse Match)
Winner: "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt via pinfall
Chris: After the Boneyard Match, my hopes couldn't be any higher for this. And thank goodness WWE delivered. This is theatre of the absurd in the best way and filled with plenty of inside jokes, references to years past, and all kinds of silliness.
How do you even review this "match"? Because it's not a match, it's a short film that revisits the entirety of John Cena's career through a comedic lense, and it's actually kind of beautiful. Whereas the Boneyard Match was an action romp, this is an independent dramatic comedy shown in arthouse movie theaters--and it's magical. It's a commentary on Wyatt's career, Cena's career, and WWE as a whole. These two--and the creative team who put this together--should be proud of the art that was just shown to the world.
Mat: First off, John Cena entering and looking a tad confused why there is no one in the stands was awesome. Thank you for that.
I'm having trouble writing about this because I am transfixed on this "match," which is essentially a very long segment that is utterly bizarre and perfect. After watching the Boneyard Match last night, I thought I had an idea of what this match was going to be. I was wrong. This was nothing like I thought it would be. It's an examination of Wyatt and Cena's career, to start, and it weirdly works well.
This wasn't really a match. It was a perfect segment. It was extremely powerful, while being silly, perverse, outlandish, and everything you could wanted from these two performers. While I thought the Boneyard Match was amazing, somehow, the Firefly Funhouse match blows it out of the water. This is THE Wrestlemania match.
9. Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship)
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall
Chris: After that Firefly Fun House match, I don't even know what to expect from this bout. I'm glad the world title is in the main event and, like Mat, that we're getting an actual wrestling match. But, there were only three movies performed here--F5, Claymore Kick, and German suplex. I get that's par for the course of a Brock Lesnar match, but part of me hoped he would really hope this would be the rare match where Brock really goes all out. Maybe he just doesn't have him in it anymore?
At the very least, I'm glad Drew is getting his moment and will be king of the mountain for a while--until, I can only assume, it's time for Brock to burn some more of his contracted appearances.
Mat: Honestly, I'm still speechless after what just happened--the Firefly Fun House match--but it is nice that this show is closing out with an actual wrestling match. On kind of the downside, it's a three moves of doom match. We don't get a lot here, but we never truly get a lot out of current Bork Lazer.
We knew this transition was coming, and I'm glad WWE pulled the trigger on it. If WWE wants a monster as champion, you got McIntyre now, and he's super talented in the ring. Well, you also have Braun Strowman now too. Is it 1992 again? Jokes aside, this is a step in the right direction, having full time wrestlers as champions. Hopefully, it stays this way. The match itself wasn't great but it also wasn't terrible. Now, time to watch the Firefly Funhouse and Boneyard matches again.
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