0 of 10
Last night, WWE delivered on its promise to give fans a memorable show with the first half of WrestleMania 36.
There were some great moments that will be remembered fondly, like AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker, and some mistakes that we’d all like to forget about, like King Corbin vs. Elias.
Tonight in Part 2, nine more matches had the opportunity to shock and awe the WWE Universe, for better or worse as John Cena fought Bray Wyatt in a Firefly Fun House match, Edge battled Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match and more.
How did it turn out? Which standout moments were the best and worst of the night?
Presented in order of appearance, here are the biggest highlights and low points of day 2 of WrestleMania 36.
1 of 10
WWE WrestleMania 36 day 2 results
- Kickoff Match: Liv Morgan defeated Natalya by pinfall.
- Charlotte Flair defeated Rhea Ripley by submission to win the NXT Women’s Championship.
- Aleister Black defeated Bobby Lashley by pinfall.
- Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler by pinfall.
- Last Man Standing Match: Edge defeated Randy Orton.
- Rob Gronkowski won the 24/7 Championship from Mojo Rawley in a buffer segment.
- The Street Profits defeated Angel Garza and Austin Theory by pinfall to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship.
- Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match: Bayley defeated Lacey Evans, Naomi, Sasha Banks and Tamina to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
- Firefly Fun House Match: Bray Wyatt defeated John Cena by pinfall.
- Drew McIntyre defeated Brock Lesnar by pinfall to win the WWE Championship.
2 of 10
For what this was—a random match with no build, no hype and nothing going for it, positioned as the filler match on the pre-show that few tend to watch, on this struggling WrestleMania—it was fine.
It probably never would have happened if this event would have taken place at Raymond James Stadium. These two would have been in the Women’s Battle Royal instead.
In an ideal world, it would have been at least Liv Morgan against Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan, instead. A Riott Squad Triple Threat would have a hook to it, at least.
But for what it’s worth, this was perhaps the best match Morgan has had so far. Scoring a win over Natalya on the kickoff is still one of the best things she’s done, even if that doesn’t mean a lot in the long run.
3 of 10
It’s very disappointing WWE decided to put the title on Charlotte Flair. She certainly didn’t need the win, nor did she gain much by coming out on top. In comparison, the negatives for Rhea Ripley far outweigh the negatives Flair would have suffered had she taken the fall.
This could have been a major step on the continued rise of a young, top-tier athlete who could be the future of the women’s division. Instead, it was a major step back in favor of giving more accolades to The Queen, who has outshined everyone for years.
Way to show everyone once again that grabbing the brass ring means nothing, as WWE can just take it away from you by playing favorites.
Now, Ripley’s had a transitional reign, rather than a dominant one. Since she made the challenge in the first place and failed, that means she was overconfident and shouldn’t have tried to sit at the adult’s table.
All that actually hinders Ripley’s reputation and halts her momentum significantly. It’s hard to see any positives with the finish of this match.
However, ignoring that, everything leading up to the end was great.
The action was great, the passion was palpable and it was easy to get sucked in and forget that there wasn’t a crowd. These two were evenly-matched—until, of course, Ripley proved herself not on Flair’s level and tapped out.
Had Ripley won, this would have been a highlight. Unfortunately, it’s hard to ignore what seems like WWE making the same mistake it has made time and time again of taking someone who is hot with the crowd with a bright future and purposely taking away their tools to succeed.
4 of 10
After the disappointment of Flair’s win over Ripley, it would have been good to follow it up with something great.
Instead, WWE chose to put the most inconsequential, flat match on the card next.
There was quite literally no storyline or foundation to Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley whatsoever. They didn’t have a single promo leading up to this or anything to get invested in.
Then, the segment itself was beyond bland. They wrestled a generic exhibition match with Lana screeching ringside.
Nothing interesting happened other than Lana misguiding Lashley to do a spear instead of a Dominator. Even if that was supposed to plant the seeds of their breakup, it means nothing, as their storyline has been atrocious.
The match came from nowhere and it’s going to disappear into the void just as quickly. No one will remember this even happened at WrestleMania in a week.
5 of 10
As with everything else, this segment would have greatly benefited from a live crowd’s reactions.
Despite that, it checked off nearly everything that needed to fulfill this storyline.
We still don’t have any true clarification of what Sonya Deville got out of this deal, but she got slapped in the face and taken out by Mandy Rose in retaliation for her sabotage.
Likewise, Dolph Ziggler suffered a low blow—fitting, given the story—and Otis picked up the win and got the girl.
Anything short of that ending would have been a mistake, so while WWE went in the wrong direction for the NXT Women’s Championship and told no story for Black vs. Lashley, at least they got this one right.
6 of 10
What’s not to like about two of the greatest of all time beating the hell out of each other in the best storyline of the year that involves the triumphant return of someone who had been forced to retire nearly a decade ago?
This was innovative, brutal, hard-hitting and everything it needed to be as far as the rivalry is concerned. It even gave us our best tour yet of the WWE Performance Center!
Kicking things off with an RKO out of nowhere was a fantastic touch and right on par with Randy Orton’s vicious character. Likewise, Edge was seething from his entrance—more than fitting for The Rated-R Superstar, particularly in this feud.
Taking out the cameraman helped hide an edit and was an unexpected positive that showed how dangerous it was to even be in the way of these two.
The criticism is fair that it went on a little too long and the commentary was dreadful. However, the good far outweighed the bad.
Edge jumped off some equipment to elbow drop Orton through tables. Who thought we’d ever get to see something like that again?
Ending this with a con-chair-to was how it should have been and it was wonderful to see Edge stand tall.
7 of 10
The Raw Tag Team Championship match changed so many times heading into WrestleMania that it was tough to build any hype for it. As such, it was mostly filler.
The action was fine, and it’s good to see some talented Superstars like this bunch get some spotlight, but it wasn’t a memorable segment for anything until the match had already ended.
Following the pin, Austin Theory and Angel Garza kept attacking Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins. To balance out the fight, Bianca Belair came to her husband’s aid and took out Zelina Vega.
Pairing Belair with Ford makes sense, as does bringing her up to the Raw roster. She’s an extremely charismatic performer who is beyond impressive in her athletic prowess.
Perhaps not being in the NXT Women’s Championship match was actually a blessing in disguise for The EST of NXT, as this was a positive and a WrestleMania moment with none of the drawbacks of coming up short against Flair.
8 of 10
Bayley’s reign with the SmackDown Women’s Championship has gone on forever and has arguably no good moments in it.
For months, all she’s done is beat people after incredibly weak feuds, if WWE even bothered to put in the slightest bit of effort at all. Sometimes, she just had a challenger established and wrestled that person.
Instead of trying to do anything at all that would have sparked interest for WrestleMania, WWE’s game plan was to wait until the last minute to announce that Naomi and Lacey Evans would just get another shot, after having already lost to Bayley.
Throwing in Tamina meant nothing. She’s accomplished nothing in her career and spends more time away than on the active roster.
The only part of this that could have been intriguing is if Sasha Banks were to win so that her friendship with Bayley could be strained and a feud might spin out of it.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Bayley simply retained and the status quo remained.
If this match would have been cancelled weeks ago and not taken place at WrestleMania, nothing would have been lost.
Once again, it goes to show how the SmackDown Women’s Championship doesn’t matter as much, as if it did, WWE would have at least tried to do something here.
9 of 10
When something is as off-the-wall as this, it’s going to be divisive. Whether or not you loved or hated it depends more on the perspective you had going in.
As a vignette, this was amazing. As a match, it really wasn’t one. Even the Boneyard Match from last night was closer to a match, despite this having somewhat of an actual pinfall—although it was Bray Wyatt counting it, as opposed to a referee.
Do you like hokey, cheesy, funny things in your sports entertainment? If so, this was gold. If not, this was absolute garbage.
From a writer’s perspective, it was fun to see decades of pro wrestling filtered into this story. The Vince McMahon puppet was funny, as were the jokes poking fun at Cena’s different personas.
But if you’re a purist and you don’t like getting experimental, this may be the worst thing you’ve ever seen.
10 of 10
Contrary to some of the things that transpired earlier in the night and on Part 1, WWE’s goal should be to make people happy, not to upset them.
That is even more prudent on a show like WrestleMania, as the biggest event of the year—during a pandemic, no less—should end on a positive note.
All too often, WWE has opted not to do that, for whatever reason, and give the victory to Brock Lesnar. WrestleMania 34 even ended with such a sour taste in everyone’s mouths because of it.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case this time around and WWE made the right call in booking Drew McIntyre to win the WWE Championship.
The Chosen One has had a long journey to get to this point, including being released and having to earn his way back into the company and up the ladder to get this title shot at all.
The big moment didn’t happen in front of thousands of screaming fans, but it happened. The history books will now say McIntyre beat Lesnar for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania and no one can take that away from him.
He deserves the opportunity to carry all this responsibility. Now, the ball is in his court and it will be refreshing to see what he can do as the fresh, new top dog.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.