Both WrestleMania 36 Part One and Two are
in the books, and yep, it was super weird. But amidst Undertaker fighting the Dark Order,001
John Cena fighting John Cena002 and, still easily the strangest, double Gronk! – it seems
one of the weekend’s sweetest feelgood moments is getting lost: Otis finally defeating Dolph
Ziggler to win the Mandy Rose championship. Disclaimer: no women were contractually up
for grabs in Otis vs Dolph Ziggler. Women’s revolution.
Sonya and Dolph as Otis’ tormentors was revealed on Friday’s go-home episode of
SmackDown, where the mysterious hacker character teased for weeks exposed their plot to break
him up with Mandy Rose. uncovered the truth about Sonya Deville and Dolph Ziggler’s
heinous plans, displaying them for all to see.
And it seems the storyline is set to continue, with Sonya’s Twitter account being hacked
yesterday. Her profile picture and banner were removed,
replaced with blank colours, and a tweet went out that said p ɹ ɐ ǝ ɥ ǝ q l l ı̣
ʍ ɥ ʇ n ɹ ʇ ǝ ɥ ʇ. Which sounds like the vocal component of summoning a devil.
SONYA DEVIL. When flipped upside down though, the tweet
reads “All is fair in love and war. The truth will be heard.”
The hack itself was only visible on Sonya Deville’s Twitter page for a few minutes
before being reverted – with any existence of the post being removed. We’re just one
tiger video away from this being an excellently built social media feud.
But it wasn’t just Otis getting the feel-good treatment at WrestleMania – as Braun Strowman
defeated Goldberg for the Universal Championship, Edge defeated Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre
became the new WWE Champion by beating uber heel Brock Lesnar. Just like last year’s
WrestleMania – with Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch and Kofi Kingston all winning – the results
saw more babyface wins to appease the crowd. Even Charlotte Flair won, beating Rhea Ripley
for the NXT title on Night Two. And she’s the biggest babyface in the company.
There have been multiple reports from wrestlingnews.co and Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer
that this was a conscious decision by Vince McMahon, as he wanted WrestleMania to be a
distraction from the real world, and wanted the overall tone of the shows to have a feeling
of positivity, which is also why any mention of Steve Corino was banned too. Even when
they probably really should’ve used it to explain why Reigns, The Miz and more weren’t
anywhere to be seen. Vince McMahon putting his audience first?
It truly is a strange new world. One which might involve more movie-based wrestling matches
instead of in-ring ones. Now WrestleMania is over, the many details
and backstage stories that many crew and talent had to keep bottled up inside them, as any
spoiler leaks were to be punishable by firings – those reports are now coming out. Like with
one of the weekend’s most well-received matches: the Boner yard Match between Undertaker
and AJ Styles. One of the most bonkers and out there WWE matches ever… until the Firefly
Funhouse match the next night. For all those who’ve compared the Boner
Yard match with Broken Matt Hardy’s Final Deletion matches, you’ve just identified
what Film Theory describes as Auteur Theory. Like Martin Scorsese, Jean Luc Godard and
Alfred Hitchcock – you can tell who directed a movie based on its authorship style. And
as behind-the-scenes photos have revealed, Matt Hardy’s Broken Universe director from
IMPACT Wrestling Jeremy Borash, who’s now a backstage producer in NXT, was very hands
on with the filming of the Boner Yard Match. And WhatCulture has revealed even more details
about the match… The shoot reportedly took 8 hours to film
overnight, from 9pm on March 25th to 5am on March 26th, and WWE hired an outside company
to create the set, which took five days to make.
WWE reportedly wanted to use an abandoned ditch, bridge and roadside for The Undertaker’s
entrance, but they couldn’t receive a permit in time since it was city property.
Interestingly, the trash talk between Undertaker and Styles was not in the original script,
but Styles and Taker both requested to improvise some dialogue, and Triple H, who was also
very hands-on with the project, obliged, encouraging both of them to do as much talking as they
pleased. Which was 100% worth it to hear Undertaker say ‘Son of a bitch’ after he elbowed
a car window. He’s so Badass. And it was reportedly The Undertaker who came
up with the final shot of AJ’s hand poking up out of the grave. Apparently Triple H and
other producer Michael Hayes found the prop hand laying around the set and were trying
to find a way to get it in, and Taker suggested they dress it up like AJ and have it poking
out the ground. Again, 100% right decision. I loved that match.
And so did everyone else, with the match receiving widespread acclaim from fans and industry
members alike – with Mick Foley requesting to be in the next one, and Chris Jericho tweeting:
“Congrats to @undertaker & @AJStylesOrg for the tremendous performance and spectacle
that was the #BoneyardMatch! I loved it!!” It’s a complete turnaround from the last
few years of Undertaker criticism, with nearly everyone – myself included – thinking he shouldn’t
have come out of retirement for his terrible matches against DX and Goldberg – the latter
of which ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports Undertaker specifically felt like he had redeem himself
for. And we actually have Kurt Angle to thank for
the Deadman’s opponent, as Kurt reportedly suggested AJ last year to Taker, as “it’ll
be the best match [he’s] had in years.” Nah, should’ve been Baron Corbin.
WrestleMania’s other movie match of The Fiend vs John Cena vs John Cena vs John Cena
vs Bray Wyatt vs Vince McMahon vs John Cena vs Hulk Hogan vs John Cena was just as brilliant.
I genuinely think it’s a six star match, watch my WrestleMania Part Deux reveal for
my full review on that, and we now know how it came about backstage.
According to wrestlingnews.co, Vince McMahon loved it as soon as he saw it, and even approved
the “it’s such good s-word” line from his puppet version in the match – which is
a direct reference to Jon Moxley’s shoot Talk Is Jericho podcast from last year, when
the former Dean Ambrose did an impersonation of when Vince likes something backstage.
The match itself was filmed by the WWE crew in Stamford, CT, while the Boneyard match
was done by the NXT crew in Orlando, Florida. As was reported beforehand, the main source
of creative input came from Bray Wyatt himself. These two cinematic and heavily edited matches
were probably the most well-received matches on the whole card – and Triple H doesn’t
think they’re going to stop there. In an interview with TV Guide, Trips had this to
say about more out-of-the-box ideas: “The opportunity of doing these shows without
fans and doing WrestleMania [with] these off-site shoots will open our eyes to different ways
of doing things that we maybe didn’t see before and will change the product probably
for the better in the long run.” Boneyard 2: Bone Harder Match confirmed.
Before WrestleMania aired though, there were several reports of backstage talent being
deeply unhappy the show was still going ahead – with Vince McMahon as the only person who
thought it was a good idea. Wade Keller of PWTorch reports though, that
once the talent arrived for the intense two days of tapings, their mood changed, and the
wrestlers didn’t treat it like a Saudi Arabia show where they just have to get through it,
but that they wanted to make the most of a bad situation and “everyone really wanted
to work hard and try to make this work.” Keller also noted there was no resentment
from the WWE talent he spoke to, with them all just wanting to try and salvage as much
of the show as they could. And that really does come across, as despite
all the circumstances, WWE managed to put together a great WrestleMania, with some incredible
moments and awesome matches. The wrestlers and crew may need to maintain
that attitude for a little while longer, as Steve Corino is still working over the entire
world. Even though WWE advertised Money in the Bank on May 10th, it’s not expected
that event will go ahead as planned, with it likely again taking place from the Performance
Center. President Trump actually held a conference
call with the heads of various professional sports over the weekend, including Vince McMahon
and UFC President Dana White. While the details of the call have not been revealed yet, Trump
himself has commented saying: “I just spoke with the commissioners and
leaders of, I would say, virtually all of the sports leagues. They want to get back.
They’ve got to get back. They can’t do this. Their sports weren’t designed for
it. The whole concept of our nation wasn’t designed for it. We’re going to have to
get back. We want to get back soon – very soon.”
Wrestling Observer Radio then revealed Trump told McMahon he’s aiming for arena shows
to be attended to by the public by August – and he’s planning on tax breaks and “doing
incentives to get people to buy tickets to events,” as citizens will be a combination
of still scared to attend large gatherings, and too poor from losing their jobs. Dave
Meltzer described it as Trump’s “support my favourite billionaires” drive, as the
President and McMahon are close personal friends, with Vince’s wife Linda being the single
largest donor to Trump’s 2016 campaign, which landed her a job as the head of Small
Business Administration, and now the Chairwoman of America First Action, which is a pro-Trump
Super PAC. That’s a political action committee, used
to raise funds for US elections, not the Geordie AEW wrestler.
It might pay to have friends in the highest of places, as it’s implied WWE might ignore
state-wide Total Lockdown orders to continue making shows.
WWE have already pre-taped both tonight’s episode of Raw and Wednesday’s episode of
NXT, but they’ll effectively run out of content for Friday’s episode of SmackDown.
The state of Florida – which is where WWE have been filming at the Performance Center
– had a stay-at-home order that was meant to finish on April 9th, meaning WWE would
be able to film April 10th’s SmackDown as planned. But now the Total Lockdown has been
extended until April 30th, meaning WWE won’t be able to record anything for almost a month.
According to Wrestling Observer Radio, though, WWE are still planning on taping this week’s
episode of SmackDown by ignoring the lockdown order and recording from a secret location.
WWE are keeping the location of the taping secret, but notes it is definitely within
a state that is on lockdown. AEW, meanwhile, have been shut down indefinitely
starting from last Friday, where Georgia state officials even attended tapings to make sure
they adhered to regulations and were finished by the time the Lockdown order came into effect
on Thursday night. Also likely because they’re huge Orange Cassidy fans.
AEW will reportedly not be recording any more shows until restrictions lift, which could
be months from now – putting their Double or Nothing show on May 23rd in serious doubt.
Meltzer notes, however, that they did manage to film the entire TNT Title tournament for
the next six weeks of TV. A huge thank you to all the wrestling promotions
that provided footage for our IndyMania two day event over the weekend, and an even bigger
than you to all of your t-shirt orders, superchats and GoFundMe donations that have raised thousands
of dollars to be split equally amongst all those promotions fighting for survival.
But even with IndyMania over, you can still support the industry by buying a t-shirt at
WrestleTalkMerch.com or by donating at our Support Wrestling GoFundMe. Click the links
in the video description below to learn more! John Cena vs The Fiend is six stars! Watch
my WrestleMania 36 Part Two review by clicking the video on the right! And find out Adam
Blampied and Luke Owen’s thoughts on Part One by clicking the WrestleTalk Podcast video
beneath that! I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.