WrestleMania 36: The full rundown from an enthralling night one

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  • The Undertaker battled AJ Style in a Boneyard

    The first night of WrestleMania 36 took place on Saturday night.

    The event is being held behind closed doors at the company’s Performance Centre in Florida due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

    It is the first time WWE’s biggest show of the year has been split into two nights.

    Here is a rundown on what took place in the first eight matches booked to be held during the weekend.

    Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross beat Asuka and Kairi Sane to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships

    How the match was won Sane was left isolated after Asuka was taken out of the equation after going shoulder first into a ring post.

    Bliss capitalised with Twisted Bliss on to Sane to get the pinfall and get WrestleMania off to a dramatic start with a title change.

    Talking point Bliss finally gets a win at WrestleMania. She lost world titles in 2017 and 2018 so having her go over here with Cross is a deserved big win on the WWE’s biggest stage.

    The big winner All four women were great here. Asuka and Sane were good as the vicious heels who pay for taking their opponents lightly.

    Bliss is a past world champion but this is a big moment for Cross and hopefully is the first of many big wins for the talented Brit in WWE.

    The down point The loss caps a tough start to 2020 for Asuka. She lost at the Royal Rumble to Becky Lynch, was beaten quickly by Shayna Baszler in the Elimination Chamber and now has lost the tag titles.

    Verdict A fast paced opening match with a feel-good ending. A positive start to proceedings despite the surrealness of no crowd.

    Elias defeats Baron Corbin

    How the match was won Arguably Elias’s biggest win in his WWE career came as he rolls up Corbin, who had been distracted by arguing with the referee. Elias illegally held on to Corbin’s trousers during the pin.

    Talking point Elias getting the nod gives hope WWE might do something with him as a singles competitor in future. Injuries and inconsistent booking have limited him so far.

    His talent with a guitar and doing promos is well established, now he should kick on and become established in the midcard on SmackDown.

    The big winner Both men needed the victory so the fact that Elias took it means it is a good night for him.

    The down point The defeat again gives WWE little reason to take Corbin seriously as a top tier talent.

    He is a great heel but he continues to lose when it matters. He lost his feud to Roman Reigns at the start of 2020, remains one of a select few men to fail to cash in a Money in the Bank contract successfully, and has now lost to Elias.

    WWE need strong heels and having Corbin continually lose will do nothing to help that, even if he had the excuse here of the illegal roll-up and being hit by a guitar before the match had begun.

    Verdict Solid fare. Not the greatest quality action but a surprise result lifted things.

    Becky Lynch pinned Shayna Baszler to retain the Raw Women’s Championship

    How the match was won Lynch had been dominated by Baszler for large portions of their match, but she escaped with the win after reversing the Kirifuda Clutch into a roll-up pinfall.

    Talking point Lynch’s reign as champion goes on. She won the title at WrestleMania 35 and it will now go on past a full calendar year thanks to this victory.

    The big winner Lynch’s run had felt as if it had run its course, but giving the Irishwoman another big win highlights just how much stock WWE have in her.

    The down point Baszler’s underwhelming start to life on Raw continues. She looked dominant for much of this match but WWE chose not to put the belt on her.

    She did not win the Royal Rumble, her Elimination Chamber match victory was oddly booked and now she has fallen short at WrestleMania.

    She needs to bounce back quickly to maintain some of her mystique.

    Verdict A shock as this felt like the natural end to Lynch’s title reign. The manner of the result gives Baszler a legitimate claim for a rematch, but it has to be considered a disappointing night for her and the WWE may have caused considerable damage to her long-term prospects.

    Sami Zayn beat Daniel Bryan to retain the Intercontinental Championship

    How the match was won Bryan had dominated the match but was distracted by Drew Gulak being attacked by Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro at ringside.

    Bryan attacked the pair, but paid for being slow to go for a move off the top rope as he leapt into a Helluva Kick to the face from Zayn that led to the pin.

    Talking point Zayn and his faction of Nakamura and Cesaro are being given a decent run and having the Intercontinental title means they will remain an important part of SmackDown going forward.

    The big winner Zayn’s first ever win at WrestleMania, in his first singles match at the show, will go down as a fine achievement.

    The down point This wasn’t much of a match. Zayn’s heelish stalling antics limited the action, before Bryan dominated.

    At less than 10 minutes this was too short to ever really get going.

    Verdict An underwhelming match, given the talent of both men, which served in the end as an angle rather than a match.

    John Morrison retained the SmackDown Tag Team titles against Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso in a triple threat ladder match

    How the match was won All three men had a grip on the titles hanging above the ring as they were unhooked from their chain.

    Morrison was knocked off his ladder by a butt to the head from both his opponents, but crucially fell while having hold of the championship belts and so that gave him victory for himself and his absent tag partner The Miz.

    Talking point An unique and well executed ending. Having all three men holding the titles made for a very different finish, with the manner of Morrison cleverly grabbing the belts making him look very smart.

    The big winner All three men were superb. Given the last minute setting up of this match after the original tag match was scrapped due to Miz being unwell, this was a fine ladder match with some tremendous spots as the trio took some real punishment.

    The down point You had to feel sorry for Big E, Jay Uso and The Miz for missing out on being involved and you would expect the triple threat tag match to happen at a later date when everyone is healthy.

    Verdict A cracking match that showcased the talent of its three protagonists. The right result as well and hopefully this is not the last of these three teams interacting.

    Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins

    How the match was won The match had become no disqualification after Owens had begged Rollins to continue after being initially given the win after Rollins had hit him with the timekeeper’s bell.

    Owens then turned the tables and an astonishing leap off the top of the WrestleMania sign above the ring onto Rollins, who was laying on the announcers table, put him in charge. He hit a stunner back in the ring to clinch victory.

    Talking point Owens set social media alight with his spectacular moment. He taunted Rollins as he was about to hit it that it was his “WrestleMania moment” and he was right.

    It was a stunning visual and it deserved to be the move that changed the tide in the match.

    The big winner Owens came across as a heroic babyface. The fact he refused to accept a disqualification win and begged Rollins to restart showed his passion.

    It was the big victory Owens needed and hopefully he can kick on from here, three years after he last held a world title in WWE.

    The down point That there was no crowd to react to the big leap from Owens. It was a shame it did not get the pop it deserved.

    Verdict An entertaining singles clash that served both men well. Owens gets his big moment while Rollins has his dastardly heel schtick on point.

    Braun Strowman defeated Bill Goldberg to win the WWE Universal Championship

    How the match was won A quick match that was over in just 130 seconds saw Strowman survive four spears to then hit three Powerslams before he hit the Running Powerslam to win his first world title.

    Talking point The fact WWE chose to go off on a surprise tangent by having Strowman win.

    Roman Reigns had been originally supposed to be facing Goldberg but had withdrawn due to the Coronavirus crisis.

    Reigns had been expected to win, so WWE stuck with the plan of Goldberg just being a transitional champion. The only difference being that it was Strowman who took the title.

    The big winner This time two weeks ago Strowman was not even on the card, yet here is now as the Universal champion.

    He has been near the top of the card for a long time and deserved a title run, it is just a pity there was no crowd for him to interact with.

    The down point None really. The match delivered what it needed to. It was kept short and produced a memorable outcome.

    You may question whether Goldberg should have ever been in this position, but he did his job and sold well for Strowman.

    Verdict This could go down as Strowman’s true breakout night. A huge surprise he won, but WWE now have the chance to book him as a dominant force on the SmackDown brand.

    The Undertaker defeated AJ Styles in a Boneyard match

    How the match was won The match, which was set around a graveyard saw The Undertaker win by burying Styles under a pile of earth deposited on top of him, before leaving on the motorcycle he had arrived on.

    He had earlier survived interference from Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and some random men dressed as druids.

    Talking point This was the return of the American Badass persona of the Undertaker after an absence of more then 16 years.

    This was an ideal environment for the veteran, designed to protect the understandable physical shortcomings at his age.

    It was something very different and it worked well.

    The big winner The WWE have been put in a tough situation by the pandemic but they struck gold with this match.

    A lot of fun, with both the Undertaker and Styles meshing well to tell a great story of the consequences of a lack of respect.

    There was a real theatrical feel to things, with music and lighting well used.

    The down point None. An innovative piece of work from WWE that will be talked about for a long time.

    Verdict A fitting main event for the first night. The Undertaker proves he can still go, and the return of the American Badass hints there is still plenty of more opportunities to see the veteran in action before he finally does retire.

    The second night of WrestleMania 36 is on the WWE Network and is due to start at 2am UAE time on Monday morning.