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  • Writer's pictureLucas Friesen

Wrestlemania 40 -- Recap and Review

Updated: Apr 9

I went 10 for 14 on my predictions. Not bad. I knew Iyo Sky retaining was a longshot and the WWE surprised me with the Sami Zayn victory over Gunther. We received six new champions at Wrestlemania 40. I’m glad there was a shake up and it was long overdue, but it felt like a lot to put in all one weekend. But, I guess, that’s what Wrestlemania is for.

Two men stand posing for a picture. One is bald with a suit and the other is in wrestling attire and wearing a championship belt. In the background is a glowing W logo.

The big one was Cody Rhodes beating Roman Reigns in their Wrestlemania 39 rematch. The win ended Reigns’ three-year championship run and made Cody the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. The best moment of the match was when The Undertaker appeared from the darkness to chokeslam The Rock and drag his soul to the underworld (or, at least, that was how it was perceived). That moment was part of a five-minute, dream-like, Firefly Funhouse-esque sequence where generational wrestlers seemed to pop out of nowhere. Even Seth Rollins disbanded his over and consistent gimmick of “Freakin’” and appeared in his Shield uniform. I think just about everybody expected Dean Ambrose to appear. However, it was Reigns that was in this nightmare that wouldn’t end. Given the chance to hit Cody, his opponent, with a chair or Seth, his old friend turned nemesis, Reigns chose to hit Seth with a payback for a chair shot from 10 year ago. This five-minute segment of the match, which also included John Cena, the Usos and Solo Sikoa, was a wildly innovative segment. We have seen WWE use these pieces before, of interference, of surprise guests, of dream-like scenarios, but here it all came together in a way that, to me, felt fresh and exciting. The Undertaker’s bell ring had me screaming at the TV.

The first night’s main event of Roman Reigns and The Rock versus Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins was an amazing match and one that, I think, will be remembered as a classic Wrestlemania match. All the matchups worked well, especially Reigns and Rollins as it played back to their aforementioned, decade-old beef. The Rock used his “Final Boss” persona to cheat. The ref even apologized to Cody during the match because he was unable to call a fair match.

Seth Rollins versus Drew McIntyre concluded the way I expected but its execution exceeded my assumptions. The reaction from the audience was phenomenal. The result of Damian Priest becoming WWE Heavyweight Champion creates many storylines, which WWE will probably use until next year’s Wrestlemania. These include McIntyre versus Punk, Rollins versus Punk, Rollins versus Priest, McIntyre versus Priest and Rollins versus Priest versus McIntyre.

The most heatless match of the weekend was A.J. Styles and L.A. Knight. This felt like a Smackdown match. It had good spots and the wrestlers are both good workers but it felt like filler in a card that was hellbent on delivering star-changing moments. The Philadelphia street fight of Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits versus Karrion Kross and the A.O.P. created more excitement than the Styles/Knight match. Styles and Knight did a good job promoting the fight, but it still underdelivered.

Rhea Ripley retained in a somewhat underwhelming match. Becky Lynch promoted her book in her entrance and ring attire, which was accompanied by some not-so-great book passages. The action was less than I expected but I’d still like to see these two continue their feud. Just, please, WWE, keep Nia Jax out of the title picture.

Altogether, Wrestlemania 40 was a successful weekend. I’m excited to see where the program goes this week and in the coming months. There are a lot of angles, including a heel turn for Chad Gable on the new Intercontinental Champion. This Wrestlemania delivered, as did the Philadelphia crowd. It was entertaining and an exciting show. So far, so good, in WWE’s Trips era.


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