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WrestleMania 39 Night 2 review: Roman Reigns win

WrestleMania 39 Night 2 review: Roman Reigns win

wrestling

April 3, 2023 | 10:30 am

Get used to Roman Reigns as the undisputed WWE Universal Champion, because his reign isn’t ending anytime soon.

If Cody Rhodes wasn’t the opponent and WrestleMania 39 wasn’t the right time, it could be another year or two before Reigns’ shoulders are pinned to the mat.

It’s at least safe to say WWE missed a moment on night two of WrestleMania 39 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

Rhodes came with great momentum after returning from a chest injury to win the Royal Rumble.

He brought a massive family story and palpable buzz with him to Hollywood, and it all fizzled out, at least for the time being, after a fascinating and emotional main event that many will feel had the wrong ending.

Sure, Rhodes could go on a redemption story like John Cena did after his loss to The Rock at WrestleMania 28.

Roman Reigns is still the undisputed WWE Universal Champion.
WWE

He could claw and claw his way back to Reigns again, perhaps at SummerSlam or next year’s WrestleMania or WrestleMania 41 if WWE can get The Rock and Reigns in the ring either this summer or in Philadelphia in 2024.

But WWE, just as potentially creating a new world title for Rhodes to win, risks not having the same meaning as if it were in Los Angeles.

Rhodes, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens came to finish The Bloodline.

Rather than pay a stake in it, WWE left the group wounded after Zayn and Owens took the Tag Championship from The Usos on the first night.

Perhaps with the sale of the company to UFC parent Endeavor, WWE wasn’t ready to move on from a golden goose.

The match itself was everything you could want from a WrestleMania main event with swing after swing of emotion, starting with seeing the Rhodes family on screen in WWE for the first time – including his daughter, Liberty, who gave him a hug during his entrance.

Roman Reigns defeated Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania.
WWE

He even gave his weight belt to Brodie Lee Jr.

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Rhodes and Reigns kicked out all the moves and big submissions to each other.

Owens and Zayn even came out to fight The Usos with Rhodes losing the match.

It opened the door to what looked like an emotional ending sequence with Rhodes doing Dusty’s Flip and Flop and Fly and Dustin’s brother off the mat before going into the Triple Cross Rhodes finishing the lot.

But after the second, Paul Heyman distracted the referee.

It let Solo Sikoa – who was hurled from the front row earlier – break out of the crowd and give the Rhodes Samoan Spike and set up Reigns to deliver the spear for the win.

It was as if the entire match and build-up – including Reigns’ victory over Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber – was a titanic act for the crowd.

They finally had it two Babyfaces can get behind it, and it wasn’t either of them that defeated Reigns.

Those same feelings aren’t guaranteed six or 12 months from now.

Here’s why Seth Rollins may be the real winner Sunday night: He’s the only man undefeated by Reigns during his run who didn’t get a rematch.

Bianca Belair defeats Asuka

Reigns wasn’t the only current anchoring superstar on Night 2 as Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair defeated Asuka in one of the best matches of the night.

Belair also got a very special entrance with Divas Compton’s little girls dancing while wearing their signature braid.

It was revealed at the WrestleMania press conference that the girl who danced live with Belair had lost her mother earlier in the day.

Once Belair managed to avoid Poison Mist, you pretty much knew Asuka didn’t stand any chance.

Belair countered an armbar by lifting Asuka off the floor for a KOD.

This was Belair’s third straight win at WrestleMania as she now began her own streak of sorts.

It could make a potential clash with Rhea Ripley in Philly even more epic.

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It’s not clear what’s next for Asuka, who is now 0-5 at WrestleMania.

Her twisted gimmick seems less powerful now, too.

Belair’s confrontation with the regular Asuka might be better than weakening her new gimmick after four months.

Edge defeats Finn Balor, The Demon

Speaking of undermining what should be a protected gimmick, “The Devil” Finn Balor has now lost it for the second time in a row.

I’ve got Reigns beating him at Extreme Rules with a wonky finish, and I think Babyface Edge needs to go inside Hell in Cell to end their feud once and for all.

But Edge is a veteran with limited years left.

He and Balor – who needed to drive pins into the ring to close a huge gash on his head – staged a violent and hilarious scene.

Finn Balor lost to Edge in Hell in a Cell at WrestleMania.
WWE

The con-chair-to callback finish was fine.

But instead of re-establishing The Demon in a big way, it looked more like a pageant prop to secure great entrances for Balor and Edge.

Gunter defeats Drew McIntyre, Sheamus

Unlike Balor, Gunther continues on his path to stardom in WWE.

He retained the Intercontinental Championship in the match we’ve come to expect of him, Sheamus and Drew McIntyre.

Slaps on the chest were frequent and audible.

Gunther broke up Sheamus pin attempt with a top rope splash and power bombed both of his opponents before pinning McIntyre for the win.

It’s time to start asking the question: who’s actually taking it off? And after more than 290 days, will he come before he breaks The Honky Tonkman’s record of 495 days?

Brock Lesnar defeats Omus

WWE totally got the Brock Lesnar-Omos match as Omos catapulted The Beast early – leaving it questionable in the course of the story if he had enough left to pick him up at the end.

It was quite a sight to see Lesnar’s German suplex and eventually F-5 Omos because it didn’t look easy.

The monster needed this win.

Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler defeat Natalya, Shotzi, Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez, Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green

You can prove that Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler needed their wins too to cement themselves as real contenders for the women’s tag team titles.

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But the two – especially Rousey – could hardly have felt in a match that looked like it was over in a flash.

While Saturday night’s men’s foursomes show match was a blast, this didn’t do much to raise the women’s rating despite some great performances from Raquel Rodriguez and Chelsea Green.

As for the surprises, Shane McMahon’s rematch with The Miz was truly one, as he hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since the 2021 Royal Rumble.

Unfortunately, McMahon tore his quads doing a frog jump, and Snoop Dogg pulled off the fun play of knocking out The Miz and getting the win.

On the other hand, after weeks of both Bobby Lashley and LA Knight teasing WrestleMania matches, neither of them got one.

Lashley, after his show with Bray Wyatt disappeared from WWE TV, had to be content with being recognized as the winner of the Andre The Giant battle royal, and Knight was nowhere in Los Angeles of all cities on the card with only six matches.

It’s hard to imagine.

Couldn’t he at least try to steal The Miz’s hosting duties?

From an internal standpoint, this was another excellent night for WWE.

The matches themselves did not disappoint.

Unlike Night 1 – for which I’d like to bump my grade up to an A- – there were a lot of creative decisions that left a few things on the table.

Biggest Winner: Bianca Beller

Biggest loser: Women’s tag division, Finn Balor

Best entry: Bianca Beller

Best match: Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes

Predictions: 3-3

Expectations in general: 8-5

degree: b +


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