The night the fans came back.
Tampa Bay, Florida
Commentary: Cole, Byron, Corey and Samoa Joe
- Vince and the entire roster welcome fans back to kick off the show. People seem legit excited.
Bebe Rexha sings America the Beautiful. Not too shabby and her outfit was um…nice.
- Then we get a rain delay and a bunch of interviews to fill time.
- Titus and Hogan come out to do an awkward welcome deal as well. The first one was enough probably.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre v (C) Bobby Lashley (w/MVP)
A really solid if unspectacular big man fight to kick off the show. The crowd was very helpful to this to start and Drew was clearly hyped as well. I didn’t dig the distraction deal at the end but overall I was happy with this. 1-1
Winner: The Champ retains via Hurt Lock ref stoppage.
- The nWo and Titus are backstage when Bayley interrupts. She gets blown off because they don’t want to be overshadowed by her sweet glasses.
Tag Team Turmoil: Lana/Naomi v Carmella/Billie Kay v Riott Squad v Mandy Rose/Dana Brooke v
Welp. This was not good. The most memorable spots were Lana not realizing what blacklights do to some clothing and Mandy Rose eating shit on the ramp. The Riott Squad looked alright but the entire thing seemed (and was if we are being honest) like a collection of non teams botching a bunch of stuff. Big old nope. 1-2
Winners: Natty and Tamina after a Superfly splash on poor Ruby.
- Get vaccinated.
Seth Rollins v Cesaro
So Cesaro finally gets to have a singles match at Mania with an awesome opponent? Of course I liked it. Both guys brought their working boots and even if it wasn’t perfect it was still a hell of a match. Cesaro busting out the UFO was almost enough for a point on its own. Good stuff. 2-3
Winner: Cesaro following the Giant Swing and Neutralizer.
- Quick Smackdown recap. Tag champs retain and Jey Uso won the Andre Battle Royal.
- Big E does his thing live!
Raw Tag Team Championships: (C) New Day v AJ Styles/Omos
I mean I liked the match but it would have worked better if the New Day were heels. Like the build of it seemed weird. Babyfaces running in terror from Omos just seemed off to me. Technically it was alright so whatever, maybe I’m just being weird. Still it was point worthy. 3-4
Winner: New Champs after a Tree Slam on Kofi. Oh, and a one foot cover.
Cage Match: Braun Strowman v Shane McMahon
Shane got way to much offense in against this giant dude that was supposedly pissed off. Even with help. I don’t hate Shane but the brother keeps looking worse and worse and taking spots at Mania that he doesn’t need or deserve. It’s not worth one cool bump a year for me. 3-5
Winner: Braun after way too long with a Powerslam.
- Hall of fame deal. I miss Kevin Nash.
- The entrances alone for the next match get a point. Miz and Morrison do an elaborate rap with Bunnies accompanying them and then Bad Bunny gets the sweet HHH style long entrance.
Miz/Morrison v Bad Bunny/Damian Priest
Really fun tag match. Miz and Morrison did their usual solid job and Priest looked like a star. Meanwhile Bad Bunny didn’t look out of place in the slightest and had a damn good showing for someone that has never done this before. Overall I can’t find fault with this one and they had an entertaining few minutes. 4-6
Winner: Bunny and Priest after a Rockerplex.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair v (C) Sasha Banks
Sasha’s new hair and gear are amazeballs. Damn fine main event. Both these ladies killed it. Sasha is a bonafide legend in my book and Bianca is so talented it hurts. Everything in this clicked for me and you can’t say enough good things about this match or what it represents. Oh and that hair whip was gnarly. 5-7
Winner: Bianca gets the title after the KOD
Final Tally? 5-7 Was this show perfect? No, but it was a mostly fun night and we finally got to have a crowd again. Hopefully that won’t bite us in the ass.
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