On the first night of the first WrestleMania under the creative lead of Triple H, it’s no surprise to see the role that NXT alumni play in nearly all of the matches. The other major theme is how nearly all of the matches also ended in ways bound to make most fans happy. Read on for the details of this very good start to WrestleMania 39.
John Cena VS. Austin Theory (C) – for the United States Championship
Cena, looking slimmer than we’re accustomed to seeing him, starts off confidently with knock-downs and some taunting of his brash opponent. Theory fights back in dirty fashion, biting at Cena’s ear and making Cena mad enough to throw him off his game.
Theory takes control for a while with a blockbuster and a dropkick, but when Cena counters and locks in an STF, Theory goes back to biting at Cena’s hand until he releases the hold. Theory maintains control after that, slipping away from an AA and responding with a DDT, until Cena unleashes a few moves of doom.
Cena makes a rookie mistake, though, when he gets Theory in another STF as the ref lays knocked out on the mat. Theory taps out and Cena releases the hold, thinking he has won, but the champ delivers a low blow with the ref still oblivious and finishes Cena off with A-Town Down.
Winner via pinfall and still United States Champion: Austin Theory
Men’s WrestleMania Showcase Match: The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar, w/ Valhalla) VS. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) VS. Braun Strowman & Ricochet VS. The Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)
For some reason, Titus O’Neil joins the commentary team. Matches like these are usually devoid of much story and feature non-stop action, and this was no different. Impressive highlights include the Raiders playing catch with Ricochet, a rolling German suplex by Chad Gable on Strowman, a top rope splash onto Ivar by Strowman, and the massive suplex/cross-body maneuver pictured below.
The end comes as Dawkins stops the Strowman Express in his tracks by running around the corner and into the charging big man, with Ford then landing a top rope splash on Ricochet for the win.
Winners via pinfall: The Street Profits
Logan Paul VS. Seth Rollins
Both wrestlers try for some entrance magic, with Paul copying the Shawn Michaels zip-line entrance to a much more muted effect, and Rollins employing a conductor for his arrival to lead the crowd in singing his theme music. Cool idea, and it would have worked better if some of the crowd sound wasn’t so obviously piped in.
With Rollins’ hot pink pants and Logan’s yellow and blue gear (not to mention the dancing Prime bottle accompanying Logan to the ring), this is easily the most vibrant match of the night.
As is the case with Paul’s matches, he carries himself well and has a couple of big tricks up his sleeve. He controls the early part of the match with moves like a slingshot suplex and standing moonsault, but Rollins finds his footing after dodging a top-rope moonsault then hitting a trio of suicide dives to Paul on the floor. A stomp onto Paul’s hand while resting on the steel steps rattles Logan.
Shockingly, the Prime bottle gets involved in the match by dragging Rollins to the floor, revealing himself to be YouTuber and Paul associate KSI. The buddies beat up on Rollins and lay him on the announcer’s table for Paul to deliver a knock-out blow, but Rollins foils their plan and lets Paul splash his friend instead.
Rollins drags Paul back into the ring and hits a Pedigree for a two-count, and really the match could have ended there with a stomp for a satisfying conclusion. Instead, it drags on a bit until Rollins catches Paul mid-air attempting a Coast-to-Coast with a superkick, following with a stomp for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Seth Rollins
Damage CTRL (Bayley, IYO SKY, & Dakota Kai) VS. Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus, and Lita
After an entrance inspired by the comic and movie Sin City, Lynch, Stratus, and Lita are in trouble early as SKY and Kai take turns beating on Lynch until Lita tags in. Looking a few steps behind, Lita gets some help from SKY in selling her soft-looking offence until Stratus eventually tags in with a little better offence (and ring gear similar to what she wore against Mickie James when WrestleMania 21 also went with a Hollywood theme).
Lita gets back in the ring to deliver a gentle looking Poetry in Motion, tagging in Lynch for a top-rope leg drop on Kai for a two-count. Bayley gets in the match and has a lengthy back-and-forth with Lynch before all six women are eventually in the ring and duking it out. In the middle of the chaos, Kai and SKY suffer a Chick Kick and Twist of Fate, respectively, and then a moonsault from Lita, while Lynch brings Bayley down from the second rope with a Manhandle Slam for the win.
Winners via pinfall: Lynch, Stratus, & Lita
Dominik Mysterio VS. Rey Mysterio
Before the match begins, there’s a very funny sequence showing Dominik being transported from prison straight to the stadium for his match. He arrives in the back of a prisoner transfer van wearing a mask of his father’s, which he removes before getting in the ring. Rey, for his part, arrives in style too: in Snoop Dogg’s low rider. Also of note: Bad Bunny is on the Spanish commentary team.
The strangest thing of this match is that someone in the upper floors of WWE thought: “Hey, we have this terrific storyline, one of the best we have going into WrestleMania – but do you know what it really needs? A cereal sponsorship!”
So, as father and son work out their differences, they do so in front of a decorated ringside area, all with Cinnamoji Toast Crunch logos and emojis (including a life-sized one that isn’t KSI). It very much takes away from the match’s emotion.
Dominik starts simply with moves like a straight slap to his father, but Rey gets more creative when he sends his son into a corner with a hurricanrana before removing his belt and striking Dominik’s rear end with it. Dom slips out of the ring to talk some trash with his mother and sister, hitting a slingshot senton on his father upon returning to the ring.
Dominik won’t leave his mother and sister alone, with Rey’s wife Angie eventually squaring up and slapping her son. As Rey takes the fight back into the ring, Damian Priest and Finn Balor arrive to assist their Judgment Day partner. Dom sends his father face first into a bottom turnbuckle, and as Balor and Priest circle in for an attack on the floor, the newly formed Latino World Order attacks, negating The Judgment Day’s advantage.
Rey survives a frog splash, prompting Dominik to grab a chain from the jacket that Priest left behind. Bad Bunny isn’t having any of that, though, and grabs the weapon away from Dom. Mysterio then attacks his son from behind with a 619 and frog splash for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio
Rhea Ripley VS. Charlotte Flair (C) – for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
With a “Bizarro World” effect in place, the babyface-positioned Flair is receiving boos at best and apathy at worst, while the heel Ripley has the loudest support from the crowd. A clothesline sends Ripley over the top rope to the floor, also knocking out an eyelash and possibly her ear-spacer (it’s definitely out, but it’s not clear when it happened).
Flair does her father’s silly flip over the top turnbuckle and running to the next corner, though unlike her father, her follow-up attack of a cross-body works. Ripley powers her way into control, using strong strikes and grips like a body-scissors to wear Flair down. Charlotte isn’t nearly finished, though, as she slips away from a Riptide and lands a spike DDT on the challenger instead. A double boot by both wrestlers gives everyone a chance to catch their breath.
After Ripley throws Flair from the top rope, landing the champ face first, a follow-up German suplex lands Flair even flatter on her face, scraping her nose and just generally looking like a painful landing. Charlotte recovers to hit her patented “no-touch” moonsault from the top rope to the floor.
Back in the ring, a surprise Riptide only earns a two-count for a shocked Ripley, while a spear nets the same for Flair — who, in her old classic fashion, is on the verge of tears after Ripley kicks out. Sensing that a figure-four is coming, Ripley slinks back to the ropes and breaks the hold before Flair really applies the move, then lures her up to the top rope where the challenger brings the champ crashing down with an avalanche Riptide for the win.
Winner via pinfall and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Rhea Ripley
The Miz VS. Pat McAfee
Not much to write about here. Snoop Dogg and Miz were back in the ring to announce the crowd of over 80,000, when Dogg suggests that the only thing missing is a match with Miz on the card. Miz explains that he couldn’t find an opponent, so out comes McAfee to oblige.
A superkick by McAfee sends Miz to the floor where he tangles with George Kittle of the NFL’s 49ers, who leaps the barricade to clothesline Miz. McAfee follows with a Hail Mary dive on Miz, then sends him back into the ring to punt his way to victory.
Winner via pinfall: Pat McAfee
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (C) – for the Undisputed Tag Team Championship
Rapper Lil Uzi Vert performs for part of The Usos entrance, while Owens and Zayn get the main event entrance tonight, with the crowd seemingly one hundred percent behind them.
Fittingly, Zayn and Jey start off, trading basic wrestling moves in a slow roll-out of the match. Soon after, though, it gets chippy, with Jey suplexing Zayn on the floor and tagging in Jimmy to continue a beatdown of the former Honourary Uce.
Zayn manages to knock both Usos to the floor and crawl over to Owens for a tag, who immediately hits frog splashes on both champs, Jimmy on the floor and Jey in the ring for a two-count. A cannonball on Jimmy followed by a top rope senton continues the momentum, but again it only gets Owens a two-count.
With chants of “Olé” filling the stadium, Zayn hits a Blue Thunder Bomb on Jimmy without realizing that Jey had tagged in, and Zayn goes into the Uso penitentiary and takes a lot of superkicks, but never allowing himself to be pinned. Zayn even suffers the 1D, but he shockingly kicks out.
Jey berates Zayn, demanding that he give up before hitting him with a Helluva Kick. As Jey talks more trash, Zayn throws him over his head with an exploder suplex into the corner, tagging in Owens who drops Jey with a stunner for yet another two-count.
It’s Owens’ turn to be resilient, as he kicks out after a double Uso splash, before a recharged Zayn tags back in and delivers three heartfelt Helluva Kicks to Jey before getting the three-count for the emotional victory.
Winners via pinfall and new WWE Undisputed Tag Team Champions: Owens & Zayn
After the bell, Zayn and Owens take a moment to just sit across the ring from one another, both showing the release of emotion on their faces before embracing in victory. It was a satisfying capper to a very good night of wrestling, one that not only delivered in its own right but created more questions than answers about what will happen on night two for the likes of Balor, the Raw Women’s Championship, and Roman Reigns. Tune tomorrow to SlamWrestling.net for our recap of Sunday night’s action!
Slam Wrestling’s WrestleMania 39 story archive