Join us tonight for our live page with details of what’s happening at WrestleMania. Nolan Howell will lead the charge, and hopefully there will be a few other members of the SLAM! Wrestling crew contributing as well.
Our long-time SLAM! Wrestling TV writers, Nick Tylwalk and Dale Plummer, will have the actual pay-per-view report after the show.
Ricky Havlik is shooting WrestleMania in Dallas, so watch for that gallery tomorrow. As well, Jan Murphy, Patric Laprade and Matt Bishop are all there as well — so there will be plenty of stories after too.
It is an odd year, in Toronto at least, as Iron Maiden rudely scheduled their stop at the Air Canada Centre for tonight, conflicting with Mania. The two SLAM! Wrestling founders, John Powell and Greg Oliver, are upping the irons tonight. WrestleMania will be a replay for them down the road. And speaking of on the road, Bob Kapur isn’t going to be chiming in either, as he’s vacationing with his brother … in Africa.
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (5:20 PM): The scene inside AT&T Stadium is absolutely awe-inspiring. As the fans file in for WrestleMania, anticipation is incredibly high for the biggest event of the year. This is going to be something else.
Pat Laprade, at AT&T Stadium (5:40 PM): My first reaction when I got here was: “Wow, everything IS bigger in Texas!” That stadium is huge and the setup is amazing. Everybody here tonight will be able to say that they attended the biggest WrestleMania of all-time, and not just in terms of attendance and gate, but in general. I go to a lot of wrestling shows in a year, but to go to a place like this is just an amazing sensation. And the show hasn’t started yet!
Nolan Howell (5:50 PM): Currently watching a marathon of movies with The Rock in them on USA Network as the lead-in to WrestleMania. Wonder where he will end up on the show if he does. Also, amazing to see how he has improved on screen!
(6:00 PM): WrestleMania 32 Kickoff Show is LIVE!
Nolan Howell (6:00 PM): Young, Booker T, Lita, and Graves are your panel and they are speculating what “record-breaking” plan The Rock has for tonight. Interesting. They kick it to Ranallo, Saxton, and Lawler at ringside for Total Divas vs. B.A.D. and Blonde.
Nolan Howell (6:20 PM): The Total Divas pick up the win with Brie Bella getting the YES! Lock to tap Naomi. Nice moment and Nikki Bella came down in a neck brace after to celebrate. Pretty plain match. Maybe the alleged drop of the “Divas” name will lead to a reset in the division. One can hope, anyway…
Nolan Howell (6:26 PM): How surreal is it that we are getting hyped for Shane McMahon in 2016? The storyline makes no sense, but credit to Vinnie Mac and crew for pulling together a strangely interesting spectacle given injury situations and all.
Jan Murphy, at AT&T Stadium (6:30 PM): Press box food is insane good. Best mac and cheese ever. Texas cole slaw, mini iceberg wedge, bacon, scallions and blue cheese crumbles, bent buckle BBQ brisket, Legends Signature BBQ sauce, seasonal vegetable succotash, jalapeno cherry cornbread muffins. Also, I’ve never, ever seen a crowd this big. Ever. Setup is gorgeous. Nicest in history, in my opinion and that of TSN’s Steve Argintaru. More than 200 media in the box. Dozens of photographers in pit.
Nolan Howell (6:32 PM): I officially hate Jan at this moment.
Nolan Howell (6:36 PM): Lita just introduced the WWE Women’s Championship. Basically the same belt as the WWE Championship with a white strap. At least they are making changes, I guess.
Nolan Howell (6:42 PM): Dudleyz and Usos on.
Jan Murphy, at AT&T Stadium (6:49 PM): Entire media box broke into applause at the unveiling of the new women’s title. Very classy.
Nolan Howell (6:51 PM): The Usos win and splash The Dudleyz through tables, much to the disapproval of the audience.
Nolan Howell (6:58 PM): Oh, apparently Kalisto defended the WWE United States Championship against Ryback earlier. So, there’s that.
(7:00 PM): WrestleMania 32 is LIVE!
Nolan Howell (7:01 PM): Fifth Harmony kicks off the show with a pretty nice version of “America the Beautiful.” It’s no Ray Charles, but it’ll do just fine!
Nolan Howell (7:09 PM): IC title ladder match is kicking us off!
Nolan Howell (7:11 PM): Sami Zayn singalong when he came out. Awesome.
Nolan Howell (7:15 PM): Owens and Zayn going at it and Owens hits a huge back bodydrop to put Zayn on the ladder. Ouch. And Ziggler just about broke his neck taking a fall on the top rope spot.
Jan Murphy, at AT&T Stadium (7:17 PM): Huge crowd response here for KO and Zayn.
Nolan Howell (7:19 PM): SPOT ALERT: Sin Cara springboards off the top rope while falling off the tipping ladder.
Nolan Howell (7:22 PM): Stardust came out with polka dots on and brought out a polka dot ladder. Fitting tribute for Dusty in Texas, “if you weeelllll.”
Nolan Howell (7:27 PM): SPOT ALERT: Sin Cara tipped off the ladder and falls through a ladder bridge on Stardust. Give that man a bonus.
Nolan Howell (7:32 PM): Went from a Zayn tease to a Miz tease to the Ryder win. Ryder wins the IC title in a really fun opener.
Jon Waldman, from Twitter (7:35 PM): Does the Zayn/Owens rivalry need the Intercontinental Championship to be hot? Zayn costs KO again? Looking forward to their 1-on-1 matches.
Nolan Howell (7:37 PM): Styles and Jericho next up.
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (7:39 PM): Incredible IC title match with a surprise ending for sure. The crowd, which was behind Owens and Zayn the most, was thrilled with the surprise win here.
Nolan Howell (7:46 PM): Solid storytelling here as Jericho is playing the veteran who is a few steps behind. Good use of limitation to their advantage.
Nolan Howell (7:55 PM): Jericho kicked out of the Styles Clash and a springboard 450! Phenomenal Forearm countered into a Codebreaker and Jericho picks up the win in the best match of the night so far.
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (7:58 PM): Jericho and Styles did a great job of getting the crowd back into things after a slow start. The two had a good match but I think the story might’ve worked better with commentary. A missed opportunity for Styles.
Nolan Howell (8:04 PM): New Day just came out of a twenty-foot box of Booty-Os. They take on League of Nations next. Nothing will top that though.
Nolan Howell (8:17 PM): The League of Nations win…which is baffling considering The New Day is the hottest thing going for WWE at the moment. Decent match. AND HBK, MICK FOLEY, AND “STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN HAVE JUST COME OUT TO CHALLENGE THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS?!
Nolan Howell (8:21 PM): The legends just cleared out The League of Nations and The New Day wants to dance with them. Foley is bumping and grinding…I just ate my dinner and I can taste it again. Austin isn’t having it and Woods gets a Stunner.
Nolan Howell (8:27 PM): Lesnar and Ambrose are taking it to the streets next. Expecting big things.
Jon Waldman, from Twitter (8:32 PM): Michaels looks like he can still go. Incredible shape. Maybe we get a match at WM33 vs. HHH in the end?
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (8:38 PM): This is great. They are putting the number of Lesnar suplexes on the giant video board.
Nolan Howell (8:41 PM): Brock Lesnar can put on an all-timer just throwing suplexes. Ambrose going all CZW with the weapons here. Really fun match so far.
Nolan Howell (8:46 PM): Suplex count: 13. Ambrose misses with the barbed wire bat and Lesnar lands the F5 on a pile of chairs for the win. Maybe not great technique, but great fun nonetheless.
Nolan Howell (8:54 PM): WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016 introduced.
Nolan Howell (8:59 PM): Divas Revolution getting the spotlight to prove it all next. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks for the first WWE Women’s Championship coming up!
Nolan Howell (9:25 PM): They gave the women a lot of time here and they made the most of it. Charlotte tapped Lynch with a Figure Eight while Slick Ric held Banks from breaking the submission. It used to be that we would dream up the possibilities of how a women’s match at WrestleMania could be bungled, either in the ring or by absurd booking. While I didn’t dig the finish, all three showed the future is bright in the women’s division.
Nolan Howell (9:27 PM): The cell is coming down and we are ready for Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon next!
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (9:30 PM): Absolutely fantastic women’s match. These three women are greatly talented and got the time to show it. What an entrance by Sasha Banks, as well. I felt it was time for Banks, but Charlotte has been great as champion.
Nolan Howell (9:35 PM): Money coming from the sky and it papers the cell as Shane O’Mac kisses his wife and hands off his kids as they ran out with him. Typical epic Undertaker entrance as well.
Nolan Howell (9:45 PM): Shane kicks out of a Last Ride and we seem to just be getting started. Both men look to be in decent enough condition, all things considered. Methodical start, but something tell me business is going to pick up…
Nolan Howell (9:58 PM): We are out of the cell as Shane clips the bolts and Taker tackles him through the panel. All bets are off, folks! Here we go!
Nolan Howell (10:03 PM): Shane is climbing the cell…
Nolan Howell (10:07 PM): Shane has come down through a table with no one on it. This has been a weirdly paced match, but that is surefire moment of the night at the very least.
Nolan Howell (10:10 PM): Shane asks for more and Undertaker carries him inside. Taker pats his head and Tombstones him. Taker wins in a strange spectacle of a match.
Nolan Howell (10:15 PM): Shane doing a stretcher job on the way out to a standing ovation. The match wasn’t a classic, mostly decent, but another crazy highlight for a guy who never needed to make a highlight reel to make a living or even make an impact in wrestling.
Nolan Howell (10:22 PM): Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal up next. This has been a strange WrestleMania. It isn’t bad. More like quality control. They knew that had little to work with and went with some mildly controversial booking and some bland booking as well. Oh, by the way, DDP and Shaquille O’Neal are in the battle royal. No biggie.
Nolan Howell (10:25 PM): Shaq and Big Show are staring each other down. And then the field eliminates them both. Well then!
Nolan Howell (10:29 PM): Tatanka is in this match, too, by the way. Just had a house of fire moment before being eliminated. As if this show wasn’t bizarre enough.
Nolan Howell (10:33 PM): Baron Corbin wins the battle royal because why not?
Nolan Howell (10:38 PM): The Rock is here.
Nolan Howell (10:40 PM): The Rock is here…with a flamethrower. And he just lit some stage design with his name on it on fire. What a world.
Nolan Howell (10:48 PM): I forgot the Dallas Cowgirls cheerleaders brought him out. Rocky is just playing to the fans at the moment and he is about to break some record. The Rock came out to announce that WrestleMania broke an attendance record…okay then. This show went off the rails fast.
Nolan Howell (10:50 PM): The Wyatt Family has come out to confront The Rock. Because Bray Wyatt hasn’t been insulted enough by terrible booking.
Nolan Howell (10:51 PM): I’m past defending this at this point. This has been a fever dream of a show with some good matches. Think I focused too much on the good matches part. They went full spectacle and then blew straight past that road sign.
Nolan Howell (10:58 PM): The Rock just challenged any of the Wyatts to a match and it looks like Erick Rowan will step up. The Rock was wearing breakaway sweats and pulled them off. Referee rings the bell and Rock Bottom lands. Six second win for The Rock.
Nolan Howell (11:00 PM): John Cena comes out to make the save as The Wyatts surround the ring and Cena and Rock beat down The Wyatts together.
Nolan Howell (11:07 PM): I will never have to experiment with psychedelics after that sequence of events. My word. The main event is next. Triple H defends the WWE title against Roman Reigns.
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (11:10 PM): This show has been downright amazing live. I don’t have one single complaint. And we get Rock and Cena teaming momentarily. It’s a winner.
Nolan Howell (11:10 PM): I want what Matt is smoking. Triple H has an epic entrance that I really can’t articulate. Just watch it when you can.
Nolan Howell (11:15 PM): Reigns getting booed out of the building. That has been the most predictable thing tonight.
Matt Bishop, at AT&T Stadium (11:16 PM): The booing as Roman Reigns enters the stadium nearly dulls out the music. Crazy!
Jan Murphy, at AT&T Stadium (11:27 PM): Observation: This show is stupidly long.
Nolan Howell (11:33 PM): Decent match so far with HHH controlling and Reigns looking to make a comeback. Reigns just sent into the steps and that’ll end that chain of offense.
Nolan Howell (11:40 PM): According to some folks on Twitter, apparently many are leaving the stadium. The match hasn’t been too bad, but speaks volumes to the corner WWE has painted themselves into. Crowd chanting “ole” to keep themselves entertained.
Nolan Howell (11:43 PM): Crowd came to life when Stephanie McMahon ate a Spear on a referee moves out of the way spot. Crowd got even hotter when HHH landed a Pedigree. Reigns lands a Superman Punch and the crowd boos. Running knee from HHH lights them back up again. What an interesting dynamic.
Nolan Howell (11:48 PM): Reigns wins and the crowd mics suspiciously not picking up too much noise for the second or third time during this match.
Nolan Howell (11:50 PM): I’m not even sure if I can see this show as bad or good. Just absurdly bizarre. Strange booking decisions and nothing seemed to be resolved at all, aside from the impromptu Shane vs. Undertaker story which could have been tied up any time. Yet, most of the matches were fine, I will say that this is must-see, but your mileage will vary here undoubtedly. WWE just can’t do anything right really and it will be interesting to see how they try to work their way out of this with some of their roster coming back.
Nolan Howell (12:00): My final thoughts of the night are that the WWE had little to work with coming into this WrestleMania and they clearly had no idea what to do with that little bit. The match quality was fine, but questionable booking and just general tone-deafness that has been harped upon by anyone who follows wrestling. The show is can’t miss because WrestleMania really always is, but this was spectacle without a lot of substance. Especially the second half of the show, which was a train wreck creatively.
Match of the night goes to the final Divas match for the first WWE Women’s Championship. Moment of the night goes to Shane McMahon for reminding us that charisma and heart can make you great in this sport. My final verdict is watch it, but keep the remote handy and the expectations low.