Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Wrestlemania 32

Saturday, April 01, 2017

The build is here.

Wrestlemania 32 comes to you from Dallas in front of 100,000 + fans, the largest crowd in Wrestlemania history. Mauro Ranallo and Steve Regal are your announcers.  This is the 117th PPV in WWF history. 

(Dark: Nakamura d. Joe, Devitt d. Sombra, Alpha d. Revival/Gargano&Ciampa)

The show opens with what looks like the type of clip package that might open a Wrestlemania, Aerosmith’s “Dream On” plays over a Super 8 clip of Dynamite and Bret in the dark match at WM, stills of the Funks, of Piper, of Ali, then a clip of Steamboat about to beat Windham in the first ever main event – but then the package dissolves and into the frame steps the Bullet Club.

Devitt and Styles do the talking  - “Blah, Blah, Blah, Ricky Steamboat wins, we get it, let’s zip this forward a few years (the video fast forwards) Wrestlemania V Randy Savage – nope, still sucks, move it along (fast forward) XI – Bret Hart. Shawn Michaels. Sucks (fast forward). XVII, another Texas Wrestlemania, Stone Cold and Steve Regal – yeah this is terrible, let’s get to the end (fast forward to last year) hey, we know these guys, there’s The Shield, there’s Brock Lesnar…..yeah, they all  suck.  31 years of crappy, sucky Wrestlemanias come to an end tonight.  Because tonight – The Bullet Club takes over Wrestlemania.”

We go to the announcers to set up the card, it’s Ranallo’s 3rd PPV and Regal’s 13th.  Regal, as he’ll do all night, really favors Underground without any sort of attempt to hide it.  Critics who have been arguing for balance in the WWF booth won’t get satisfied tonight.  Eagle eyed viewers will also note that Austin Aries was scheduled to make his return to the ring tonight in the dark match against Prince Devitt (he has been out since being attacked by the Bullet Club after his debut) he did not, that’s not going to be explained until Dark Ride Wrestling on Wednesday (you’ll have to wait until July). 

We then cut to the ring for a big announcement from the Championship Committee – here comes Michaels – there’s a clip of Shawn’s first Mania, 27 years ago, WM V, where the Rockers lost a shot at the tag belts to the Brainbusters, as the clip plays there’s a shot of Arn Anderson in the back, who stands with The Revival, his developmental tag team. 

Now, here comes Steve Austin, with a clip of his first Mania, WM XII, 20 years ago – he and his tag partner, Dustin Rhodes, kept the tag belts against Chris Candido and Savio Vega.  There’s a shot of Dustin, in the back, loosening up with his brother Cody, both intensely focused as their match will begin Mania. 

Michaels and Austin do some comedy about their debut Mania matches, do some comedy about each having a big announcement to make and who will go first, do some comedy about how Edge is getting ready to be a special guest referee tonight so they can finally get a word in, and then they announce that look, here’s the thing – tonight’s the last night for all 3 of them.  Tomorrow night, a new WWF Commissioner will be named, the fans won’t be disappointed, and they promise to still come around from time to time – they thank the fans for coming and hope they enjoy the show.

Applause comes as it will.  

And we’re off.

1.       Hardcore Rules: Losing Team Breaks Up: Dudley Boys d. Rhodes Brothers
-The Dudleys enter first; their first Mania was 16 years ago, Wrestlemania 16, when they lost the tag titles in the first TLC match against E/C and the Hardys.  As a team, the Dudleys were only in two Manias – this is their first since WM 17. 

-Cody’s first Mania was six years ago, WM 26, where he teamed with The Undertaker to beat his brother and Yakuza Yang in a Light Tube match. 

-Only one team can survive tonight – this is a straightforward real world attitude era garbage match, trash cans, stop signs (no thumbtacks) plus the light tubes that , as indicated by the Cody clip, were a staple of WWF garbage matches for a few years. 

-Rhyno, who otherwise does not appear on the programming, showed up when Bubba returned for a one off to challenge for the tag titles with DDP over a year ago at Rumble ’15, he returns here as well, standing near the top of the ramp, ready to run down and spear Cody who is out on the floor – but he’s stopped by a returning Undertaker, who lost a retirement match against Sting a year ago and has not been part of the promotion since.  Undertaker appears at the top of the ramp, chokeslams Rhyno off of it, tips his hat to his former protégée Rhodes and disappears.

-It still ends badly for Cody, he takes 3D and the Dudleys win the fall and the match.  It’s the end of the road for the Rhodes Brothers – which is acknowledged as the teams embrace post match.

-And then they’re attacked by the Bullet Club (minus AJ), Cody bails out of the ring as the attack happens, showing fear on the ramp as he backs away, we get a shot of Dustin reaching out to his brother for help – but a frightened Cody exits (literally, this ends his run with the promotion).  Dustin and the Dudleys wind up under the Bullet Club flag.  Dustin’s going to be enhancement going forward. 

2.       Rusev (w/Lana) d. Dos Caras, Jr.
-It’s the battle for GHBs black ravenously capitalist heart.  He enters first and ascends the tallest lifeguard like chair they can put together, overlooking the match like a prison warden.  The clip of Bradshaw’s  Mania debut is shown, it’s 11 years ago at WM 21, when he and Ulysses Morley won the opening tag over Tajiri and Yakuza Yang.  As GHB positions himself in the chair we see, for the first time, the McMahon family box where beloved philanthropist Vincent Kennedy McMahon “just call me Vince” he tells reporters during rare interviews sits with his wife, the Honorable US Senator Linda McMahon, in a neck and neck battle for the Democratic nomination for President of the US.  Chants of “Medicare-For-All” now follow McMahon in all of her stops and even here in Texas her years of populist legislation make her a popular figure. 

-Dos Caras, super oily, is next, his debut at Mania was just 5 years ago, at WM 27 where he beat the Undertaker in the Legends Match. 

-Rusev’s got a new jacket, on the back is an airbrushing of Putin, and a new shtick, Lana tells the crowd they should rise and salute the great leader as the camera shoots the back of the jacket. GHB salutes from the tower, those just popping in now should note that the GHB/Rusev relationship has always been predicated on GHB’s almost fetishizing Rusev’s Russianness, contrasting the manly strength of the Russians with the weak US public as reflected by the WWF fans (the Counterfactual is leading as opposed to following what could fairly be perceived as the real world alignment between the right wing political party in the US and the Russian authoritarian government). Rusev’s Mania debut was a year ago when he defeated Langston.

-Rusev goes over definitively, Dos Caras does jobs on his way out the door. 

3.       The Cuck (w/Maryse) d. Sheamus
-Will Sheamus accept the offer?  Will he hand over a win at Wrestlemania in exchange for a night with Maryse? 

-He does.  Sheamus enters first, his debut was as part of Hooligans, they went over Defiance at WM 26.

-Then The Cuck.  Miz's first Mania was in a tag title match, he and Hunter were unsuccessful in a three way against the LWO and Dead Men Walking.  The Cuck does his shtick, he reads from the card Maryse hands him, saying that his wife requests a night of intercourse in exchange for allowing himself to be pinned by the Cuck, that the Cuck will be in the room during the intercourse but not participate.  Sheamus milks the crowd for a moment, but then lies down.  Miz gets atop, gets the fall, does his celebration in his high, whiny voice “One more for the Cuck!”

-Sheamus and Maryse begin to exit together – but they’re interrupted by the Rock.  Hey, its the Rock!

-The Rock first cuts a promo on a former rival, Sheamus, challenging Sheamus’s manhood for just throwing away a WM match; the contempt dripping from his mouth.  Sheamus makes a move as if to go fight him but instead walks away with Maryse. 

              -Rock then turns to the Cuck, does the types of Rock lines one would expect – the Cuck only speaks when   reading from the cards, so he pulls a card from his latex outfit and begins to ask the Rock if he would like a night with his wife and that draws more verbal fire from the Rock – who closes the segment by laying the Cuck out, Rock Bottom/People’s Elbow – posing and whatnot.

Entertaining the people.     Is there a future for the Cuck? (yeah, actually, there is)                                    
4.       Women’s Title: Sasha Banks d. Charlotte Flair
-It’s the Mania debut for both women and only the second women’s match in Mania history; this match has to carry a good element of the workrate load for the undercard, so they have the best match they can – Charlotte’s been cheating to win, of course, and she pulls a foreign object out of her tights at some point but it winds up on the canvas – Becky Lynch runs down the ringside, and just before Charlotte would have been able to grab it, she snatches it herself (Becky doesn’t get in the ring or involve herself in the action) and without it she falls to Banks and drops the Women’s belt.  Sasha and Becky celebrate in the ring postmatch, 4-Ground is over, but the friendship between these two lives. 

It’s now time for the In Memorium, the video tribute to wrestling figures who died over the past year with the ten bell salute.  

Buddy Landel
Dusty Rhodes
Nick Bockwinkel
Roddy Piper
Verne Gagne
Axl Rotten

5.       Legends Retirement Match: Chris Jericho d. HHH-M (special guest referee-Edge)
-Edge, the only man to be a member of both Clique and Harts, enters first in some type of outfit that is reflective of both factions but also incorporating referee stripes.  17  years ago it was at Wrestlemania 15 where a young Edge and Christian turned on their best friends, the Hardys, and joined the Clique. 

-Next is Hunter; 20 years ago (before Hunter added the M to his last name) he debuted at WM12 beating Diesel in a No DQ match the night before running he and Razor out of the promotion.  We cut to the McMahon family box, now in it are Stephanie, and, for the first time in years, Skip McMahon. 

-And now Jericho.  He wears his #7 Hart Foundation hockey jersey; 16 years ago at WM 16 Jericho made his Mania debut, burning the building down in losing his IC title to Eddy Guerrero, his longstanding NWA rival.  Two months prior, at the Royal Rumble, Jericho kept that same title over Hunter. 

-Only one will have an active wrestling career going forward – it’s Jericho; he beats Hunter in the best match they can have, Hunter submitting to the Liontamer after being hit with the Lionsault.  Edge raises his longtime rival Jericho’s hand, all three men shake hands – the video wall plays a tribute to Hunter’s career, he waves to the crowd and exits. 

6.       Tag Titles: Relaxed Rules: Usos (Jimmy/Jey/Roman) d. New Day (Langston/Kingston/Woods)
-All 6 men  are part of the match, they fight inside the ring and out, it’s the type of brawl popularized during The Shield’s title run fought by the Usos multiple times.  The Usos debuted at Mania four years ago, losing to Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel.  A year later Langston joined The Shield as they took the tag belts from Empire.  7 years ago at WM 25, Kingston lost his debut Mania match to John Cena. 

-It’s all up tempo, a full sprint, Reigns gets the fall over Kingston with the spear and the punch.

-It took four years and multiple just didn’t quite get the job done failures, but the Usos are WWF Champs.  They celebrate in the ring, the Rock, without any music, runs down the ramp to join them, the Rock handing each of the Usos tag title belts as the celebration continues.  The Usos become the 98th tag team champions in WWF history.  

7.       IC: El Generico d. AJ Styles
-The first Wrestlemania match for both men; the in ring success of the card really requires the two deliver.  The full Bullet Club is at ringside, none ever get in the ring during the match, the interference is limited to one outside the ring spot – say Generico dove outside, Anderson and Gallows distract the official while Devitt quickly works Generico over and Nakamura stands on the periphery.  We want the Bullet Club to be central to the story of the match but not so intrusive as to really interfere given the need for this match to be a workrate hit. 

-Generico fights from underneath, maybe there’s a second similar outside spot in order to really establish what an underdog he is in this one.  But he wins – he hits the kick and the brainbuster DDT and takes the belt from AJ. El Generico is the 67th IC Champion in WWF history.

-The celebration is short lived, the Bullet Club hits the ring right after he’s handed the belt and announced as the winner and they beat Generico silly.  AJ does the wrestler disappearing act, which hopefully we don’t notice as Steen appears on the ramp – he’s quickly swarmed over by the agents, he’s the WWF champ after all about to work the main event of Wrestlemania and can’t be running to the ring to save Generico – the Bullet Club leaves the ring to go to the ramp (no flag burial) so all the focus is on the ramp -  Bullet Club taunting Steen, agents holding Steen back – Generico lying in the middle of the ring with his IC belt at his side. 

-Fairly long taped package before the main event to provide time to get the Chamber situated, the mystery opponent  is under the ring, he gets positioned in the darkened chamber as the package plays.  It’s the build to the match with the added clips of each man’s first Mania match added in. 

Steen, Kalisto are in their debut Mania matches, the Mystery Opponent obviously won’t get clips of his Mania debut..

Lesnar’s first Mania was 13 years ago, he spiked himself on a shooting star press and lost his main event title shot to Angle…

Nemeth’s first Mania match was 6 years ago, he and Swagger lost their tag belts to Young Money….

Ambrose’s debut was three years ago, he won the tag belts as part of The Shield…

You ready?

8.       WWF Title: Elimination Chamber: AJ Styles d. Kevin Steen/Nick Nemeth/Dean Ambrose/Brock Lesnar(w/Heyman)/Kalisto
-The match starts with the two men from Underground, Nemeth and Kalisto.  They start off largely friendly, doing a “can you top this” spot thing, which Nemeth eventually turns into a “fuck this, I’m trying to win this belt” thing.
-Ambrose is third, he gets double teamed for the first half of the period but then fires back, lays them both out, goes back into his pod to retrieve a bag of thumbtacks and scatters them across the ring, they do thumbtack spots for the final couple of minutes.

-Lesnar is next, he suplexes everyone in the world to the delight of Heyman, Paul shouting instructions about which man to attack in which order Kalisto and Nemeth really fly all over the Chamber to bump for Lesnar in this sequence– eventually Regal takes off his headset and goes to ringside, shouting for Nemeth and Ambrose to work together, they do – and with Kalisto the three men turn things around on Lesnar, but right at the end of the period he catches Kalisto in an attempt at a high spot and F5s him for the first fall of the match. 

-Steen’s next, he attacks Lesnar, they settle into a brawl while Nemeth fights Ambrose – the clock will mysteriously disappear here, and this period will take longer than five minutes given the end of the period – which is Lesnar and Steen exploding through one of the pods, which, since this is the first WWF Chamber match, is a new spot and probably gets a monster reaction.  Probably the psychology is better if Steen sends Lesnar through the pod – showing his desperation, and that’s what it takes to kill the big man.

-The explosion causes Nemeth and Ambrose to stop dead – Regal has remained at ringside, and while everyone else is selling the pod exploding, Regal’s yelling for Ambrose and Nemeth to go pull the bodies out of the wreckage.  They do, both Lesnar and Steen are completely dead, Nemeth and Ambrose pull them out, both Nemeth and Ambrose cover Lesnar (and Steen’s arm is draped over Lesnar as well) and that’s how Brock gets eliminated in his last ever WWF title shot.

-Ambrose and Nemeth leap up in celebration – Nemeth then drops him with a flash superkick and that’s the next elimination. 

-Nemeth then drops to cover Steen, who is still immobile, and Steen rolls him up into the pinfall.  And that’s the next elimination.  And the very second Steen gets to his feet the mysterious darkened chamber opens and it’s Styles. 

The Bullet Club now returns to ringside, they’re rattling the cage, they’re cheering for AJ – Styles and Steen do a striking sequence, a nearfall sequence, and eventually AJ catches him.  Styles Clash.  1-2-3.

AJ Styles is WWF Champion the 55th WWF Champion ever– the Bullet Club hits the ring to start the beatdown on Steen.  Generico still selling his beating drags himself from the back and (in contrast with Cody at the top of the show) goes into the chamber and just goes right at the Bullet Club.

He gets in some good shots on all 5 guys, enough that Steen staggers to his feet and Steen and Generico fight side by side against the Bullet Club until the numbers overwhelm them and they’re put down and eventually buried under the Bullet Club flag as Wrestlemania 32 comes to a close.  All 3 men's titles change hands,  

That’s our show.  I’ll do something in May and June, like I’ve done every month for the last 11+ years, July will be the build and then August will be Summer Slam 2016, the main event of which, to be announced by the new WWF Commissioner tomorrow on RAW, will be AJ Styles defending the WWF Title against Kevin Steen.  Part I of the build is here.
Thanks for reading.  

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