c/o WWE

c/o WWE

Saturday, April 1 marked the first night of Wrestlemania, a highly anticipated event for wrestling fans around the world. While Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has dominated the professional wrestling world, it is no secret that other wrestling companies, such as All Elite Wrestling (AEW), are rising up. Although I am a 2004 baby, I know that WWE reached its peak in the ’90s as figures like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Undertaker, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson drew in millions of viewers. With a focus on entertainment, as well as a long line of poorly constructed storylines (like Happy Corbin, what was that?), it is no surprise that WWE has since declined. Now, it is time to see if WWE can redeem itself. 

MVP Promo of the Night: Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio 

I have to say, WWE really does know how to pull at my heartstrings sometimes. The promo starts off with footage from 2005 of Rey Mysterio inside his house talking about his biggest supporters: his family. He discusses his relationship with his son, Dominik, and his daughter, Aaliyah, and it’s overwhelmingly clear that his children are the most important things to him. Things take a turn for the worse as Dominik joins the dark side, otherwise known as The Judgment Day. WWE does a fantastic job of intertwining the past with the present, building up tension between the father and son. Viewers then witness the powerful moment in which Rey finally agrees to fight his son. And let’s not forget the great touch of suspenseful music (oooh, spooky). 

Grade: 5/5 Chukwuemeka Stars

Now, let’s get to the matches:

Austin Theory vs. John Cena

Before I begin my critique of this match, what is up with John Cena’s hair? We all want to look young, believe me I get it, but it’s not worth having a bald spot in the midst of a wild set of hair. I can’t have my birthday twin go out like that. What would that mean for everybody else born on April 23? Anyway, as far as this match was concerned, I would say that this may very well be John Cena’s last, but you never know with Cena. There was little momentum to begin with, perhaps because Cena always attempts to provoke his opponents by smiling. Austin Theory, however, came out with force, hitting Cena with an elbow and a few clotheslines. As the crowd began to cheer, Cena was able to get some shoulder tackles in, along with the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Unfortunately, as Cena prepared to perform his signature move, the AA (Attitude Adjustment), he somehow ended up knocking out the ref. This allowed for Theory to low blow Cena and get the win with the A Town Down. 

Personally, I did not find this a particularly exciting match to watch. Austin Theory, who is known as a heel, is a fairly predictable wrestler. I had hoped that Theory would showcase more of his in flight ring ability, but for now this will suffice. 

Grade: 2.5/5 Chukwuemeka Stars

Men’s Wrestlemania Showcase Match

This match included the Alpha Academy, the Viking Raiders, the Street Profits, and Braun Strowman and Ricochet. Packed with several high-flying moments (it is always good to see Montez Ford go airborne), it was one of the better matches of the event. One particular highlight was the all-out brawl that took place between each team, with each wrestler demonstrating their agility and flight skills. Also, shoutout to Ivar with that beautiful moonsault. Although at first it looked like Braun Strowman and Ricochet were going to win, the Street Profits were able to secure a well-deserved victory. 

Grade: 3.5/5 Chukwuemeka Stars

And last but not least: 

Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul

You have to understand that I have been a wrestling fan since I was five years old. I often spent hours sitting on my grandmother’s lap as she screamed, “Boom, pow!” So seeing Logan Paul wrestling is something that I am still getting used to (come on guys, it’s Logan Paul). WWE has capitalized on Logan Paul’s social media presence, often hinting that his online popularity was one of the reasons why they added him to the team. That said, I cannot deny that Paul has managed to adapt to the ring despite not being a wrestler.

The match got off to a slow fight as both men focused on getting inside each other’s heads.  However, Logan Paul was able to land several clotheslines and a Russian leg sweep. Things became a little more heated toward the middle of the match as Rollins dodged a frog splash. It was Rollins who later came out on top after quickly catching on that KSI, Paul’s apparent sponsor, who wore a Prime costume throughout the match, had repeatedly tried to save Paul from his opponent’s attacks.

Grade: 4.5/5 Chukwuemeka Stars

 Although I didn’t cover all the matches, I thought that it would be fun to simply notice the ways in which WWE makes the most out of their wrestlers’ ring abilities. My advice to WWE is to remember the Attitude Era and just how independent wrestlers often are. While it is good that WWE is trying to branch out by providing a platform to internet stars like Logan Paul, it doesn’t hurt to take a little inspiration from the ’90s. Stay tuned for part two. 

Oluchi Chukwuemeka can be reached at ochukwuemeka@wesleyan.edu

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