Welcome to the first night of The Showcase of the Immortals, and we have one more chapter to go as Cody Rhodes tries to finish the story at WrestleMania XL. Tonight will determine the main event of night two of WrestleMania as The Rock joins his cousin Roman Reigns to face Rhodes and Seth “Freakin’” Rollins, with the goal being the winners will decide if The Bloodline stipulations will be used in the main event or if Reigns’ family will be banned tomorrow as they challenge for the WWE Undisputed Universal title.

Oh, and there are other wrestling matches, too.

We come to you from the Lincoln Financial Field in the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA. Corey Graves, Pat McAfee, and Michael Cole have the call, and out first is The King of Kings, WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque. He welcomes us to a new time and era of WrestleMania.

With that, we get excerpts from The Man’s book out now (which you should check out our review), and we kick off with your First Match of the Night for the…

WWE Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Becky Lynch

Motionless in White sang Ripley’s theme song live.  Ripley has strep and a fever of 102, according to Cole.  As for The Man, my friend sent a Facebook message that read, “Becky’s outfit made me want a Budweiser really bad.”  With that, time for a drink of some genius juice before we get deep into this recap.  Ring announcer Samantha Irvin delivers with the boxing-style intros, and one can’t help but notice there are more cheers for “Mami.” Interesting, but could be Philly’s idea of hospitality.  Tell me when I’m telling lies.

Motionless in White perform Rhea Ripley’s theme song at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com

Motionless in White perform Rhea Ripley’s theme song at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com    MORE PHOTOS IN OUR WRESTLEMANIA XL NIGHT ONE PHOTO GALLERY

The bell rings, Ripley shoves her down, and Lynch comes up with a slap.  She sends the champ out and then goes for a baseball slide that gets caught, and Lynch manages to send her shoulder to the apron.  Back in the ring, Ripley overpowers and nails a suplex with a bridge for a two count.  She goes for a vertical suplex, but Lynch reverses to a rollup, and Ripley powers back up and follows through for another count of two.  She sends her to the ropes and Ripley lands a dropkick and stomps away at The Man.  Ripley climbs up top, but Lynch pulls her down with an avalanche arm drag and the champ clutches her elbow in pain.  They go back and forth until Lynch nails a leg drop between the ropes and follows with a fallaway slam into the barricades.  Lynch tries to soften her up for the Dis-Arm-Her, but Ripley shows off her power with a gorilla press slam and then a knee lift for a two count.  She wants to end it with the Riptide, but Lynch counters with a codebreaker to arm and then cinches an armbar.  Ripley deadlifts and powerbombs her not once or twice, but thrice and still Lynch kicks out.  A big boot cover for a kickout and Ripley can’t get the job done and is getting frustrated.

She gives a headbutt and Ripley charges at her, but Lynch evades and sends her shoulder ring post first and uses the ropes for an arm bar assist.  She lands a top rope leg drop, but Ripley goes to the Prism Trap and drags The Man into the center of the ring. She’s close to the ropes but Ripley pulls back and applies a body scissors to the Trap.  Lynch Maneuvers for a pin and Ripley releases the hold.  She attempts another Riptide and that gets reversed to a Man Handle Slam and Lynch only gets a two count. Ripley now lands Riptide and covers for one, two…kick out.  Mami is beside herself and goes up top of the turnbuckle and Lynch trips her up.  They battle up top and Lynch nails a superplex into an armbar to the Dis-Arm-Her, but Ripley fights it and sets her in the electric chair.  They go over the top rope to the floor and then in a display of balance and core strength the electric chair hits Lynch to the ground.

She sends her back in the ring and Ripley nails the frog splash for another two count.  Once more they battle up top, and Ripley gets down to the mat on her feet and delivers the Riptide to Lynch on the turnbuckles before adding another with emphasis to retain.

Your Winner, And Still WWE Women’s Champion:  Rhea Ripley

Wow.  Not a bad way to start off night one.  What can top that?

Oh, I know.  How about a…

The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor & Damian Priest) at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com

The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor & Damian Priest) at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com    MORE PHOTOS IN OUR WRESTLEMANIA XL NIGHT ONE PHOTO GALLERY

Six-Pack Tag Team Ladder match for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship: The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor and Damian Priest) (c) vs. #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) vs. The Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. A-Town Down Under (Austin Theory and Grayson Waller) vs. New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate)

This match stipulates that it will end after both titles under the Undisputed Championship banner (the Raw and SmackDown tag titles) have been retrieved, making it possible for the titles to split between two teams.  Because of all the teams involved, let me pause for an…

(Authors Note: In the immortal words of Mandy Patinkin from The Princess Bride:  “Let me explain… no, there is too much. Let me sum up.” This will be just a spot fest galore, so I am just gonna bullet-point the big moments of the match because there is more ‘Mania to get through.)

To Wit:

  • Bate picks up Balor who is holding a ladder, and gives them an airplane spin, and he spins him again before dumping him on a ladder in the corner

  • New Catch climbs a ladder on the outside and they nail stereo moonsaults to all men on the outside.
  • Priest connects with a crucifix powerbomb on Dunne to a ladder to make Bate crash down to the mat
  • #DIY and Awesome Truth team up to get rid of Judgment Day and go for the titles but A-Town spoils the fun and they get the Smackdown tag titles
  • New Catch then sends Waller crashing to a ladder on the outside
  • #DIY bust out tables for the first “E-C-Dub” chant of the night.
  • New Day props Ciampa on a ladder and Woods lands with a springboard big elbow to his chest
  • Kingston dives backward in a trust fall to all the men onto the floor
  • New Catch gives a double team burning hammer to Theory
  • Gargano gives Dunne a springboard DDT to a table (and it looks like he caught the worst of that spot), as Ciampa drives Bate from the top of the ladder to the mat with an avalanche Air Raid Crash
  • JD McDonough tries to interfere but New Day sends the Judgment Day lackey crashing to a table set up on the floor
  • R-Truth sends Priest to the outside with Attitude Adjustment and he claims the Raw Tag titles

Your WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions:  A-Town Down Under

Your WWE Raw Tag Team Champions:  The Awesome Truth

So one team won with The Power of Douchenozzlery™, and another won because they are Awesome.  Eh, fair trade.

There is a shot of Olympian Jordan Burroughs, who will compete in the Olympics for Team USA in wrestling for Paris 2024.  But we have family matters to attend as the next match is…

Latino World Order (Rey Mysterio and Andrade) vs. Santos Escobar and “Dirty” Dominik Mysterio

Rey comes out in Philadelphia Eagle-inspired gear, while Dominik continues to raid Eddie Guerrero’s Gringos closet.  Also, as to why Andrade is in this match and not Dragon Lee, you should go to Shelby’s awesome Smackdown recap to find out the answer.

Got it?  Good.  Let’s move on.

Some of the highlights have Rey climbing on top of Andrade’s shoulders and they give a double crossbody from the top turnbuckle to the floor.  But soon Escobar and Dominik utilize The Power of Douchenozzlery™ to keep Rey isolated and he is a Latino in Peril.  There is a hot tag to Andrade and he is El Idolo en Fuego (Wait, can I use that here or is Tony Khan gonna pitch a fit?).

Tag back to Rey and he sets up Escobar on the middle rope, then sends Dominik out of the ring and dials up 619 and Andrade hits a moonsault from the top rope to the floor on Dirty Dom.

Soon Legado de Fantasmo interferes and Escobar gets an avalanche hurricanrana for a two count.  Now all of Legado and the LWO get in the mix, including Joaquin Wilde who launches from the middle ropes to halfway up the ramp.  Dominik grabs a chair and gets stopped by two big guys in Mysterio masks who send him crashing to the ring post.

Dominik and Escobar are set up on the middle ropes and Mysterio dials up 619 and a splash ends it.

Your Winners via Pinfall:  Rey Mysterio and Andrade.

After the match we see the masked men were Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson of the Philly Eagles who decide to get their shirts off faster than you can say “Bert Kreischer”, and that prompts McAfee to comment that there is a lot of “milky meat in the ring,” and I cannot unhear that.

Thanks for the nightmare fuel.

Now for a match that is (I guess) important, it’s time for…

“Main Event” Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Lill Wayne comes out to rap the intro to “Main Event” Jey Uso.

This is less a match than a storyline with a squared circle that is almost Shakespearean, so in lieu of a Haiku in Review™, allow me a Squared Circle Soliloquy™:


To YEET, or not to YEET? That is the question, Uce.

Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer in the mind the splashes and superkicks of The Bloodline,

Or to take arms against thy brother and realize things ain’t Uce-y.

The heartache and sorrow by the Usos

Is heir to, ’tis a consummation.

To pin, to submit

In a sleeper, perchance to dream

And see why these Booker Monkeys™

Couldn’t have done a better job with thee.

(Translation for you Uneducated Heathens:  Jimmy and Jey went to a stalemate until Jimmy sucked in Jey and tried to punk him out.  However, a superkick and a splash by Main Event ends this match, which could have been an email…or an episode of WWE Speed.)

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Jey Uso

McAfee is “Yeeting” (whatever that means), and Graves asks him what we’re all thinking, “Why are your hips so aggressive like that?”

Be thankful I did not show you that image, as I am thankful sweet whiskey will wipe that from my memory.

But let’s continue with a six-woman tag match with…

Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill & Naomi at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com

Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill & Naomi at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com    MORE PHOTOS IN OUR WRESTLEMANIA XL NIGHT ONE PHOTO GALLERY

Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill, and Naomi vs. Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, and Kairi Sane)

Damage CTRL gets a cool intro with geisha girls dancing before they head to the ring.

Cargill, Naomi and Belair descend from a platform that would put Destiny’s Child to shame.

That said, I must offer a quick note:  I agree with Big E from the pre-show earlier this is a huge moment where you will see three strong black women in force like this and I applaud him for pointing out women like Jazz and Jacqueline who paved the way for stars like them.

As for the match, this is merely a showcase of Cargill’s strength and power, even though Damage CTRL got the lion’s share of offense throughout the match.  The highlights of the match were near the end as Belair whips Asuka with her hair and hits the K.O.D., and Cargill nails her Jaded chicken wing facebuster for the pin and the win.

Your Winners via Pinfall: Bianca Belair, Jade Cargill, and Naomi

Sami Zayn is backstage with his family and then as he heads to the ring he talks to Chad Gable. Gable says he should go on his own and reminds Zayn he owes him a favor. As he passes through a corridor to gorilla, there is Kevin Owens who embraces his friend and says he’s got this.

So your next match is for the…

WWE Intercontinental Championship: “The Ring General” Gunther (c) vs. Sami Zayn

Cole notes that Gunther has reigned for 660 days as the WWE Intercontinental champ (Honky Tonk Man, we hardly knew ye.  Ask your parents about him, kids).  

Gunther is in full control and Zayn has yet to get in any offense.  There are camera shots of Zayn’s wife near the ring fretting over her husband.  A desperation kick takes Gunther’s head off and Zayn defiantly stands his ground.  There’s a half-and-half suplex and another by Zayn and then he runs into a clothesline as The Ring General covers for a two count.  Zayn gets him with a knuckle lock and climbs ropes for tornado DDT.  He attempts the Helluva kick and gets caught in a sleeper hold.  Zayn escapes the hold and then tries the Blue Thunder Bomb and Gunther reverses to a rear naked choke.

Zayn fights out and The Ring General has him in a waistlock.  Zayn reaches for the ropes, but Gunther hits a German suplex.  Zayn comes back with a suplex to the turnbuckles and another Helluva attempt gets blocked and turned into a powerbomb for a two count.  Gunther connects with a running boot to the corner and then looks at Zayn’s wife, and goes to the opposite corner for another boot.  Zayn recovers for a Helluva Kick to cover for one, two…no luck.  He goes for another, and Gunther lands with a clothesline, then a powerbomb, and another and covers, but Zayn gets a shoulder up at the last minute.

Gunther gets frustrated and stomps away at the challenger, and gives him another clothesline.  He toys with Zayn and gestures to his wife and laughs in her direction.  Then he climbs up top and gives a big splash and then another, enjoying the schadenfreude he’s inflicting on Zayn.  But The Underdog from The Underground fires himself up and gives Gunther a Helluva kick followed by a turnbuckle BRAIN-BUSTAH!  One last Helluva Kick and he drapes an arm for the three count.

Your Winner, And New WWE Intercontinental Champion:  Sami Zayn

I previously thought in my preview of Night One that this was a throwaway match and I am happy to say that I was wrong.  I will not have such doubts about Zayn in the future. 

Holding the title, he goes to embrace his wife after the match in a touching moment as Philly celebrates the man who is no longer a “generic” worker if you will.

Sami Zayn is the new WWE Intercontinental Champion at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com

Sami Zayn is the new WWE Intercontinental Champion at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com    MORE PHOTOS IN OUR WRESTLEMANIA XL NIGHT ONE PHOTO GALLERY

We get the Smackdown and Raw GMs, Nick Aldis and Adam Pearce, out in the ring to thank fans for making this the biggest WrestleMania with a crowd of 72,543, and they say thank you. Such celebrities in the crowd include George Kittle (boos from the Philly fans), Wale, Vanessa Hudgens, 2 Chainz, and Druski.

Now for the Main Event of Night One between…

The Bloodline (The Rock and Roman Reigns) vs. Cody Rhodes and Seth “Freakin” Rollins

To recap; If Rhodes and Rollins win, all members of The Bloodline will be barred from ringside during the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match on Night Two.  However, if Rock and Reigns win the championship match on Night Two will be held under Bloodline Rules.

Rock’s Final Boss intro is something to behold, with him walking down holding the People’s Championship belt gift by Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali’s wife, during the WWE Hall of Fame show.

Once again we get boxing-style intro by Irwin.  Once the bell rings there is a stare-down by all four men.  Reigns starts with his former Shield brother Rollins in a reunion of sorts.  A collar and elbow tie-up and Reigns shoulder tackles Rollins down.  They go back again, and it ends in a stalemate until he tags in Rhodes.  This gives fans a preview of night two as Reigns clotheslines him in the corner.  Rhodes gets offense in and then goes to a Test of Strength.  Reigns has had enough and as Rollins tags in, he tags in The Rock and the fans are lapping this up.

They lock up and The Final Boss tosses Rollins. Rollins is no slouch and The Monday Night Messiah backs him up to the corner and Rock nails him with a boot to the midsection.  He levels Rollins with a clothesline and gestures to Rhodes to “Bring it.”  Rhodes in and goes with a right hand and unloads a flurry of offense in the corner.  A tag back to Rollins, and he tees off on The Rock.  Rollins and Rhodes are getting double-team action on The Final Boss and they have the upper hand.  Now all four men unload and we have ourselves a Pier Four brawl through the Field.  The ref starts to make the count, and The Rock says, “You count me out. If you do, you’re fired. I don’t f*** around!”  This was awesome because the Censor Monkey™ was late in bleeping that.  Nothing PG here, folks.

Rock and Rollins go into the crowd as Rhodes and Reigns fight up to the top of the stage.  Rollins sends Rock back into the ring, and his knee gets tweaked as Reigns chop-blocks him from the apron.  Rock works on the bad knee of Rollins, and Reigns joins in on the fun as he is in Freakin’ Peril.  Reigns attempts the Superman punch and Rollins lands with a desperation neckbreaker and crawls to the corner but Rock prevents the tag from happening.  Rollins manages with a step-up enzugiri and he crawls again to his corner.  Rollins goes for the tag, and Reigns takes Rhodes off the ring to prevent it, then Rock locks in the sharpshooter to wrench his knee further but Rhodes slaps him.  Once he escapes the submission, Rollins stomps and clutches his knee but goes to hot tag and Rhodes is an American Nightmare en fuego. He nails the Disaster Kick to Reigns and a springboard cutter to cover for a two count.  He sets up for CrossRhodes but Reigns escapes and lands a Superman punch for a count of two.  Reigns is busted open on the nose and seethes. He goes for a spear and Rhodes nails with the Cody Cutter and Rollins follows with a splash and that gets a two count.

Rollins for a stomp and Reigns powerbombs him.  A CrossRhodes by the American Nightmare and a cover of one, two…Rock pulls out the ref.  Rock sends Rollins to the barricades, and Reigns connects with a spear to Rhodes. Now the ref gets sent in to count for one, two…no.  Fans chant “Co-dee!” as Reigns goes for a guillotine choke. Rhodes fades but gets a second wind.  Rock grabs at Rhodes’ legs to add pressure and Rollins makes the save with a stomp.  Rock pulls out the blood-stained weight belt and taunts his mom at ringside.  Rhodes blocks him and channels the American Dream with a bionic elbow to drop the Final Boss if you weeeeelll.

Rock gets back and sets up the People’s Elbow, but Cody gets up and lands the Cody Cutter.  He goes again for CrossRhodes, and Reigns comes out of nowhere with a Superman punch.  Reigns signals the spear and hits his cousin by accident,  and he and Rollins nail stereo Pedigree to both men and get two counts regardless.  Back outside the ring, Rollins dives on Reigns as Rhodes goes after the Final Boss.  Rock clears the Spanish Announce Table and slams him on it.  He attempts the Rock Bottom but Rollins grabs his leg and Rhodes nails the Rock Bottom on the announce table to collapse it, as Reigns hits a spear to Rollins through the barricade.  Rhodes sends Rock back in the ring and as he climbs back in Reigns connects with a Drive-By.  Now it’s a slugfest by Rhodes and Reigns and hits CrossRhodes one, twice, and as he goes back up The Rock whips him with the weight belt.  Reigns connects with a spear, and Rock wants the tag.  Once he comes in the ring, it’s academic as he nails the Rock Bottom.  He signals to Reigns and Mama Rhodes and delivers the People’s Elbow to cover for one, two, and three.

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Roman Reigns and The Rock

That means Bloodline Rules will apply tomorrow on Night Two, and both Rhodes and Rollins are battered and broken after the war they went through.  The final shot has Rhodes sitting in the middle of the ring in a similar shot to when he lost last year at WrestleMania, and one cannot help but wonder if history will repeat itself on Night Two.  

But that is a recap for tomorrow as this show draws to a close.

TOP PHOTO: The Bloodline (The Rock & Roman Reigns) Vs. Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins at Night 1 of WrestleMania XL at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA, on Saturday, April 6, 2024. Photo by George Tahinos, georgetahinos.smugmug.com


WrestleMania XL Night One: 04/06/2024

Final Thoughts:


Overall, a solid WrestleMania.  The Main Event adds more drama that will carry over to Night Two.  Other than the spotfest that was the six-pack tag team ladder match, Lynch/Ripley and Gunther/Zayn added more to this night and should be commended for their efforts.

Until then, see ya tomorrow for The Showcase of The Immortals!