Many years ago, I more or less had a nervous breakdown. And many of you reading this today bore witness to it as it happened on air.
Prior to a WrestleCrap Radio episode that I wish I could forget (amazingly even more than the others), I was discussing the itinerary with my co-host, Mr. Blade Braxton. If you’ve ever listened to the show, you’re well aware of his penchant for getting off topic and rambling about nonsense for who knows how long. At the time, I was attempting to work on a possible radio deal (seriously, not making that up) for the show and so I talked with him prior to recording, asking politely that he stay on course for once and we try to do a show that was a bit more tight that ones we’d done in the past so we could submit it for a possible terrestrial radio station time slot.
And we all know how well that went.
It led to an infamous rant, one in which I absolutely blew my top, screaming at him about how no one wanted to listen to a show that was “SIX F***ING HOURS LONG.” As y’all know, I almost never swear. But in this instance, I lost my cool completely as he just kept going blah blah about some dude in a Creature from the Black Lagoon mask or something and just wouldn’t shut up. The rest as they say is history. It’s brought up all the time, and try as I might to forgive myself for it, it’s something I have to live with the rest of my days.
Why would I bring this up prior to penning this induction, this Gooker winning induction?
Because while I remember nothing else about this show, I do remember that it was also six hours long.
If you want to throw profanity in between “six” and “hours”, that’s your call.
But what else was wrong with it?
What caused 34% of the Gooker voting public to push it over the top and give it the award?
Only one way to find out! So let’s dig into this pile of crap!
And our opening contest, scheduled for one fall (read that in a Howard Finkel voice or get off my site) features…well…a mostly empty stadium!
I know folks had a bit of a challenge getting into the building, but geez, it’s WrestleMania. And if I had a ticket as close as these seats are, you can bet your sweet Fanny Adams I would be there at like 6am smearing my drool on the door. That there are empty seats leads me to something you are going to hear multiple times today – no one wants to attend a six hour wrestling show – not even if it’s the biggest show of the year, and moreover, not even if they are PAYING TO BE THERE. This match took place over an hour (67 minutes) prior to the main show even kicking off, and if you were expecting a barn burner to get the (non-existent) crowd going, well…
…I mean, you’re getting Kalisto vs. Ryback. So don’t set those sights too high. I suppose if seeing the big guy clubber Kalisto’s back with forearms is a good time (and to be fair, Ryback yelled out this was a “WrestleMania moment, brother!” as he did so which did make me laugh), then this is the match for you. But I think that kinda sucks, as did the finish when Kalisto yanked a turnbuckle cover off blatantly in front of the ref and Ryback ran headfirst into it.
A 10-Diva tag team match is next, and…hey, is that Emmalina? She actually debuted? I thought that was a rib.
Oh wait, my bad. It’s actually Emma. You can understand how I’d get confused, they look kinda similar and their names are nearly identical. Silly me. Anyway, it’s actually Team Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. and Blonde, and it features Lana making her in-ring debut! I bet she’s going to be great! So she throws a few decent looking kicks and some of the worst punches you’ll ever see until, well 30 seconds later when Paige uncorked a few so hideous they’d make Shane McMahon shake his head.
We then go into the PAUL HEYMAN ECW SPECIAL where everyone hits their finishers in sequence on each other, until finally Lana interferes and necks Brie on the top rope. Naturally this leads right to the finish, where Brie taps out Naomi.
For the record, that may have been the least effective interference I’ve ever seen.
Next up it’s the Usos versus the Dudley Boyz in nothing more than a standard, run of the mill house show match. Because nothing says WRESTLEMANIA more than that! I mean, no offense to the guys, but this is literally the definition of filling time. The crowd finally comes to life as Bubba and D-Von get the tables which leads of course to…
…them being splashed through said tables by the Usos.
The crowd boos its disapproval as that was clearly not what they wanted.
Trust me, kids, that too will become a theme for the evening.
The opener for the main card is this here ladder match for the Intercontinental title and it admittedly features a a lot of good action, including a fairly riveting match long battle between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Sure, we get the standard “guy climbs ladder really slowly so as to make sure someone else stops him” bits, but overall, not bad. In fact, I dare say, really kinda fun. In a true shocker, our winner is…
Mad props for that, as I have always viewed Zack as a guy this company screwed over well and truly. He took that old “get yourself over speech”, did so via his goofy internet show, had a gazillion followers, and then was flushed down the toilet repeatedly for no good reason. So yes, a true feelgood moment here, and the crowd was very excited for it.
But hey, don’t get too excited folks – we can’t have you happy or anything. So while Ryder would get his “WrestleMania Moment”, he would lose the title the very next night on Raw. Because in addition to putting on shows that are just too darn long, WWE also doesn’t want you happy about anything for any length of time.
The very next match showed what I am talking about as well. AJ Styles had come into the company as something of a wild card. Debuting at the Royal Rumble, those backstage, including one Vincent McMahon, was unsure if the fans would latch onto AJ. I mean, he was quarantined to TNA for seemingly his entire prime. Would anyone even know the guy?
They did of course immediately respond, and sure enough, he was able to secure a match against Chris Jericho on WWE’s biggest show. Now you look at this, and you have a very hot AJ taking on Jericho, who while great, is obviously in the latter stages of his career. So naturally he could give AJ a boost to the next level by putting him over after an action packed match.
Eh, you know how this story ends.
To be fair, even following this company as long as I have, I had pretty much the same reaction as AJ.
In fact, I am going to steal that and use it over and over and over again in the years to come. Soon, AJ, you will be as well loved as other WrestleCrap luminaries, such as…
Man Mountain Rock and…
I mean the other AJ.
We’ve come full circle!
We get the New Day emerging from a giant box of cereal next, and I have to admit, that there is a winner of an entrance. Like if you asked me to come up with the best possible way to make an appearance at a wrestling show ever, jumping out of a giant box of cereal would be right at the top of the list.
So yay New Day!
Unfortunately, their opponents would be the League of Nations. Holy crap, I had almost washed that amazingly awful group from my memory, a team that got together and did nothing but have excruciatingly boring matches for months on end.
And poor Rusev. I mean sweet Christmas, he went from driving a TANK at Wrestlemania…
…to kicking oversized cereal pieces with the likes of Alberto Del Rio. That’s wrong in like a million different ways.
So you have this act that is very over (New Day) and the other that couldn’t get heat with a blow torch, which leads to the crowd going completely silent. They have an utterly useless match and three guesses as to who goes over?
Still, this does lead to some true stars coming out.
I mean, guys who were stars 15 years ago, but at this point you take what you can get.
Austin, Shawn, and Mick make quick work of the League. We even get Rusev taking a pretty Rocktastic Stone Cold Stunner.
I mean, he didn’t wobble around and spit beer into the air or anything, but it was still pretty good. In fact, he kinda looks more like Batista. Remember that?
So the New Day gets back in, and they attempt to convince the legends to dance. Foley of course is completely down with this (like Dude Love would pass on such an invite), and Shawn gives in a wiggles a bit (he was a Rocker).
That just leaves the Rattlesnake.
Ok, have to admit, that was pretty great as well.
I mean, that GIF right there has me thinking that inducting this may be wrong, and it being a Gooker award winner is kinda a travesty.
Wait, this thing still has MORE THAN THREE AND A HALF HOURS TO GO????!!!!
Are you freaking kidding me?!!!!
Ok, bring on Ambrose vs. Brock, as we start hitting disaster central.
Look, I like Dean Ambrose, I really do. He’s amusing and generally has really good matches. But anytime he is presented as more than a upper mid card goof, sorry, I just can’t buy the act. I look at him just like Brock does above. Well, except that Brock’s look of mild amusement barely hides a look of “you do realize I can break you in half with the same effort it takes me to brush my teeth.” I don’t have that.
THIS is the guy you’re going to have Brock use up one of his really few annual matches against?? Matches that give him paychecks large enough to buy houses with each one? And after like four of them he can trade in those houses for hotels on Boardwalk?
Anyway, Dean gets a bunch of weapons including a barbed wire bat that he decides to make out with for whatever reason. Eh, he kinda deserved to get the crap beat out of him for being that dumb. A Lesnar F5 ends it all, after the future nemesis of USADA controlled roughly 85 percent of the match. I think Daniel Bryan actually got in more offense on Sheamus at WrestleMania four years earlier.
Meanwhile, two months later, Ambrose would win the WWE Championship, so it was a good thing WWE made him look so strong in front of their biggest audience of the year.
To quote Paul Heyman at ringside, “it’s a long painful night!”
You said it Paul E!
THREE MORE HOURS TO GO!
After too many video packages, we get WWE Hall of Famer Snoop Dogg!
Ok, stop. I need to rant a second here.
Any time I hear someone ask, “Do you think so and so will ever be in the WWE Hall of Fame?”, I nearly blow a gasket. I mean, seriously, this is a Hall of Fame that features Snoop Dogg, Drew Carey, and Vince McMahon Sr’s limo driver.
DOES IT REALLY MATTER WHO IS IN IT?????
Snoop sings Sasha Banks’ theme music as “The Boss” makes her way to the ring. I’ve never been the world’s biggest Sasha Banks fan (her sunglasses and ‘boss’ ring look like something that came out of a skill crane at Chuck E. Cheese; also, her giant forehead that kinda/sorta makes her look like Low Ki in an anime wig bothers me), but she was white hot at this time and it was obviously time for her to capture the gold. I mean, you brought out Snoop Dogg (WWE HALL OF FAMER SNOOP DOGG!!!!) to usher in her championship reign, AND you have Becky Lynch in there to take the fall so Charlotte can easily state that she was never beaten by Sasha, thus setting up easy rematches between the two.
The fans desperately want a Sasha win, it’s WrestleMania, the biggest show of the year, and everything is lined up perfectly to make those fans happy…I mean, you ARE going to give it to them, yeah?
You do realize what show you are watching?
Need a reminder?
If I said, “We still have two and a half hours to go!”, would that help?
How about this graphic? That ring any bells?
I remember when this match was originally rumored, and everyone was completely sure that it had to be a rib. HAD to be a rib. I mean, really, The Undertaker going into his one match of the year at WrestleMania against SHANE MCMAHON.
The guy who threw THESE punches:
And THESE punches:
Only one thing I can say watching those one more time.
Exactly. Thank you, AJ.
For crying out loud, Ralphie Parker hit Scut Farkus with more convincing slugs than the ones Shane’s been throwing for years. If WWE ever dubbed in Ralphie’s muttered curse words from that after-school beatdown over top of Shane-O-Mac’s sparring sessions….well, it’d be funnier than that abysmal “Old Day” skit, that’s for sure.
The storyline setting up the match was even more ridiculous, as Shane wanted control of the company, specifically Raw. Of course Vince didn’t want that, but he was willing to offer him the chance to get what he wanted…if he could beat The Undertaker.
Now WHY exactly the Undertaker would ever help Vince was never
fully even vaguely explained. It was just going to happen and that was that. So we got an absolutely boring match that went on forever (over a half hour!) all of which led to Shane doing what Shane does best.
Jumping off something really high and looking like an idiot in the process.
So Shane loses the match (and nearly his life) and thus doesn’t get control of Raw.
I mean, until the next night he just kinda wound up with control of Raw for reasons that again were never
fully even vaguely explained. It was frankly so idiotic the whole story kinda needs an induction in and of itself. Art, why don’t you get on that. I’ve suffered enough.
Speaking of, how much time is left in this stupid show?
HOW CAN THERE BE ANOTHER HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES???
I feel like I’ve had to shave 43 times since this thing started.
I mean, was anyone on planet earth sitting through FOUR HOURS of this already and thinking, “You know what I want to see? Bo Dallas in a battle royal!” But that’s what we got, featuring him and a bunch of other goofs. It also featured in a completely unadvertised appearance…
SHAQUILLE O’ NEAL! I mean, that’s great, bring the guy in, celebrities when used properly can help a wrestling show. But at least let folks know about it ahead of time. He’s one of the biggest stars in NBA and I am sure there would be basketball fans that would want to see what he could do inside a wrestling rin…wait, stop, time out.
Who is that over his shoulder?
You didn’t advertise HIM in advance either?
I know, right?
And Tatanka just showing up is far more exciting than the match itself, which was won by the equally low ceilinged (but don’t tell that to Vince because he’s tall) Baron Corbin.
Here is our winner celebrating with the Andre the Giant statue, which no longer looks like it’s made of chocolate, but rather melted down coins from a 7 Wonders board game.
Never thought I’d get to make THAT particular reference on the site.
Under an hour and a half left!
So let’s waste more of my precious time on earth by bringing out…
…the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!
Man, I bet I could have trimmed this show down to like 90 minutes and it would have been the best WrestleMania ever.
Of course, my version would have just consisted of this running on a loop.
Anyway, let’s get Rock out here…with a flame thrower!
He does his usual schtick and shows why he has more charisma than all the current guys in the company combined times ten. That’s the great thing about Rock appearances and the awful thing about Rock appearances – you realize just how lame the product we are subjected to each and every week truly is. Sadly, sing-a-long with the Rock is interrupted by…
…the Wyatt family. Much like a lot of the rest of this show, that sure is random. And long. I am kinda used to Bray babbling on for minutes on end, but here it seems like it’s gotta be at least an hour. Which come to think of it would be good, because this show would be over.
Rock bring the ha ha with jokes about Cracker Barrel, breast feeding, and Hot Pockets, somehow leading to a match featuring him against…
No, not Bray Wyatt.
And it lasts all of six seconds.
Hey, how have we never inducted Rowan’s face run as a vintner? That was horrible.
Not as horrible as this show mind you, but still induction worthy.
Anyway, the Wyatts surround the ring and it looks like Rock is doomed…
…only to be saved by John Cena.
I think I’ve seen old WCW Battle Bowls that were less random than this.
Whatever, it’s got to be almost over.
Good Lord, another 45 minutes for one match?
Who thought that would be a good idea?
So yes, kids, we finally get to the main event of the evening, with Triple H defending against the guy only one person in the world thinks should be the company’s numero uno babyface, Roman Reigns. Look, I will spare you another 10,000 words of why Reigns isn’t now and never will be the guy Vince McMahon wants to be the face of the company. There are lots of other places you can get that diatribe and they’d likely all be written better than by me, who is ready to collapse from watching this idiotic show again. Instead, let’s focus on the match itself and why it is one of the worst main events in WrestleMania history.
Amazingly, it doesn’t end with Steph’s Evil-Lyn impersonation.
Although it must be noted that in her pre-match spiel, Aunty Stephtity screeched, “You are mere shells of humanity, Hanging onto the empty notion of hope. Hope for a savior, hope for someone or something, will take away the pain, That is your pathetic lives.”
Wow. That’s more truth than you get in your typical Kayfabe Commentaries YouShoot. And here we used to think the McMahons didn’t understand the core WWE audience.
Anyhow, the closer of WrestleMania 32 focuses more on Hunter’s never-ending belief that he can get a great match out of anyone, and Vince’s belief that Roman is the guy everyone wants on top. Add those two together and we get a match lasting more than a half hour and was about the most boring thirty minutes you could possibly imagine. Much like this show, it just keeps going on and on and on and on, with tables being broken, guardrails being smashed, and more punchy-kicky action than I ever needed to witness.
The crowd is so enthralled they begin to chant for Nakamura.
That is a WrestleMania failure.
In the end, though, it doesn’t matter – because Hunter got his 30 minute match and Vince got Roman on top, reaching “immortality” at WrestleMania.
Just one problem. See that guy behind Roman? Let me zoom in a bit.
Yeah, that would be a guy who paid who knows how much to get a front row ticket to give the new champ a big thumbs down. And he wasn’t the only one, as the crowd booed mightily as the clock slowly, mercifully ticked to zero.
In the end, Roman won not only the WWE title, but also helped WrestleMania bring home the Gooker.
And for some reason, I am guessing that Roman may get another Gooker or two before his days are done.