We did it, guys.
We survived 372 hours of wrestling content over three days. For the most part, it was an enjoyable experience, but allow the NCB crew to not only sound off on all the highs, but also the lows and the straight up insane from the weekend that was in the WWE.
What’s your tweet-length review of WrestleMania weekend?
Robby Cowles: WrestleMania 34 was the best top-to-bottom WrestleMania ever. Don’t @ me.
if you then you
don’t love don’t deserve
me at my me at my
Wait, I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work…
Jeremy Klein: A literal child is out here winning championships, and I can’t even get a text back.
Dan Soden: Wrestlemania the greatest show..wait cross that out the greatest build up in sports entertainment.
Where does Gargano vs. Ciampa rank in the all-time NXT matches list?
JK: No question, it’s number one. The entirety of Gargano and Ciampa’s story to this point had been perfectly done, and the payoff with this match – the character work, the spots (shout out to Ciampa for not dying on that powerbomb to the concrete), the crowd interaction, maybe the most well-executed finishing sequence I’ve seen – was satisfying on every level.
DS: My knee jerk reaction was that it was the greatest match since Savage vs. Steamboat, but once I calmed down and came off my high I really thought about it. I’d say it’s easily in my top five for NXT and currently in the mix for top three with Sasha vs. Bayley (Ironman Match at Takeover Respect) and Gargano vs. Cien Almas (Takeover Philly).
RC: It’s #1 (followed by Bayley-Banks I in Brooklyn and Gargano-Almas earlier this year). It was an incredible display of storytelling that’s been building since the summer of 2016 that paid off with a final match that concluded the story in a satisfying way. Along the way, they made the audience cheer, boo, cringe, gasp, cry and scream in jubilation. It was as good as any professional wrestling match can be.
DH: Shoot Gargano vs. Ciampa into my veins. It takes the top spot from Zayn/Nak in my book, and it isn’t even close. Forget textbook storytelling because you’d have to rewrite the book based on what those two accomplished over the course of an entire year. The callbacks, the emotion, the details…the match had it all. Oh, is psycho killer, no entrance music Ciampa the best heel in all of pro wrestling right now?
If Gargano/Ciampa was a movie, which would it be?
DS: Karate “Freakin” Kid. Gargano would naturally fill the role of Daniel LaRusso, the lovable underdog who just wants to be happy, enjoy life and hang out with his blonde girlfriend (Candice LeRae). But instead of just having a good time, he gets bullied, beaten and stalked by the easily hated Johnny Lawrence (Tommaso Ciampa). Naturally, when the two square off, Daniel gets the upper hand, but not before Johnny can take him to his physical limits.
RC: The Revenant. Like Dicaprio, Gargano had to overcome betrayal to return and face the man that tried to end his life in a final battle that is emotional, bloody and ultimately satisfying.
DH: I think the better question is who would play Gargano and Ciampa in a movie about this match because no movie in existence would do their clash justice.
JK: Fighting With My Family? I don’t know, really. You’d need to find a movie that rolls Oscar-caliber performances, masterful storytelling, seat-gripping tension, and a satisfying emotional climax into one. I guess what I’m saying is, YOU COULDN’T WRITE A SCRIPT BETTER THAN THIS! HAHA, I LOVE IT MAGGLE!
What are five things you loved from the weekend?
RC: (In no particular order) Gargano-Ciampa making me cry grown man tears, the best ladder match since the Dudleys, Hardys and Edge & Christian were doing shit, Ronda Rousey whipping ass, Charlotte Flair and Asuka having the best women’s match in WrestleMania history, and Seth Rollins becoming a Grand Slam Champion.
DH: Gargano/Ciampa, Rousey producing a fun match, Velveteen Dream’s epic elbow drop, the precursor to British Strong Style vs. The Undisputed Era, and the return of DANIEL FREAKIN’ BRYAN.
JK: In lieu of just listing off my favorite individual moments from Gargano/Ciampa… 1) Everything about that North American Championship ladder match, 2) Elias staking his claim as best heel in the game, 3) Asuka and Charlotte putting on a classic that made me not care as much that Asuka tapped out, 4) Ronda Rousey turning me from “I truthfully do not care,” to “Ronda Rousey: great wrestler, or greatest wrestler of all-time?”, and 5) Kyle O’Reilly being the premier actor of our generation.
DS: Gargno/Ciampa, NXT North American Ladder Match, Asuka vs Charlotte, IC Triple Threat, and Mark Henry’s painful plea to Owen Hart’s widow.
What are five things you hated from the weekend?
DH: The lackluster finish of WrestleMania, Reigns rendering F5s as just another finisher, Nak/AJ not even close to living up to the hype, Taker coming back, anything involving Paige.
JK: 1) Cruiserweights on the pre-show, 2) The SmackDown tag match not stealing the show, and actually being one of the worst matches of the night, 3) John Cena’s goofy meme-sprint completely undercutting the end of Asuka/Charlotte, 4) The realization that Daniel Bryan is going to whip out that “hold my head like I suffered a terrible injury” trick, and toy with my emotions, every chance he gets, and of course, 5) that main event where Roman Reigns had blood covering his face and yet still managed to be less red by the end than Brock Lesnar.
DS: The Iconic Duo not debuting together in the battle royal, AJ Styles vs. Nakamura (I did like the turn), the Smackdown Tag Title match being a dud (it hurts to even write that), having to see the Undertaker in a wrestling ring, and Rusev not walking away with the US title.
RC: Beach balls. “CM Punk” chants. Showing us John Cena watching wrestling from his seat like three times a match. Rusev Day being spoiled. I can only name four. It was the best weekend of programming WWE has ever done.
What do we do with Reigns and Lesnar now?
DS: I’m sure Brock extends his contract until at least the next PPV where he’ll most likely drop the belt to Reigns. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be shocked if it comes out that he’s seriously considering a return to UFC to face the winner of DC and Stipe Miocic.
RC: If you’re asking what WWE will do, probably have another one-on-one title match and hope the crowd is more tolerant than the ‘Mania crowd and have Reigns go over. If you’re asking what I would do its turn Roman heel by having him hate all WWE fans, have Lesnar lose clean to Strowman and have a babyface Braun versus heel Roman feud anchor your programming until Summerslam.
DH: How can you possibly book a dude that survived eleventy billion F5s? I don’t see how Creative can get out of this corner they booked themselves in other than saying Lesnar isn’t quite as strong as he used to be, and that’s why it took that many finishers to take out Reigns. If you go that route, that could solve how you write off Brock as well. Oh, and before I forget… FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NO MORE MANIAS HEADLINED BY ROMAN REIGNS.
JK: Their just-announced clash at The Greatest Royal Rumble (that Roman is absolutely going to win) notwithstanding, with every Pay-Per-View being dual-branded for the foreseeable future, it honestly feels very possible that Brock Lesnar will just head off to wherever it is that he goes when he’s not appearing on TV, until SummerSlam. As for Roman Reigns… with his crushing defeat at this WrestleMania, AT LAST, now we can finally build towards a satisfying main event coronation for him at the next WrestleMania! Wait…