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Review: WWE Wrestlemania XXXII (Blu-ray)

REVIEWS - BLU-RAY REVIEWS

Richard Cosgrove laces up his boots to check out the longest PPV in WWE history - WrestleMania XXXII...

Another year, another WrestleMania, and once again the WWE have put together their undeniably impressive Showcase of the Immortals, this year in Dallas, Texas.

Kicking off, as it did last year, with a seven man ladder match for the Intercontinental Title, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sami Zayn, Stardust, Sin Cara and Zack Ryder put on a great match, delivering plenty of bumps and really setting the seeds for the ongoing Owens / Zayn feud now that both men are established on the main roster.

Next up was AJ Styles’s Mania debut against Chris Jericho, with both men giving their all but not quite creating the synergy that might be expected from two top performers. That said, Styles was impressive and will surely be a lot higher up the bill for WM XXXIII next year.

The ever popular New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods) took on the League of Nations (Sheamus, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio, with King Barrett at ringside), though surprisingly not in defence of their Tag Team Titles, but it was post-match as Barrett bragged that there were no three men alive who could take on ‘his lads’ that presented the first proper WrestleMania moment when Shawn ‘HBK’ Michaels, Mick Foley (in Cactus Jack gear) and Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to thunderous applause and, predictably, made short work of all four heels before dancing with New Day (though only briefly for Austin, who couldn’t resist giving Xavier Woods a Stunner for good measure).

Next up was Dean Ambrose versus Brock Lesnar in No Holds Barred Street Fight match. Given the fighting styles of these two men and the stipulation of the match, they turned in a somewhat lacklustre effort that ended quite abruptly. Perhaps it was the level of expectation that made this match seem ordinary, but it could have been so much better.

I’ve not traditionally been a big fan of the current Diva’s division, but now that they’ve renamed it the Women’s division, there seems to actually be some quality wrestling happening, and the clash for the first Women’s Title between Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch was actually one of the best matches on the whole Mania card this year.

There was only one way to follow such a great match, and it was with one of the most unusual pairings in recent years that had Shane McMahon taking on the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match. On paper, this match should have lasted about twenty seconds given the Phenom’s reputation and the fact that he was competing in his signature match, but McMahon held in there for half an hour, delivering the best Mania moment of the night, but ultimately the match was too long, and Taker is looking like he should be hanging up his boots soon (and I say this as a huge fan).

The penultimate match of the evening (well, maybe not, but more on that in a moment) was the third annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal which was pretty much over before it started, running at less than ten minutes, and notable only for the appearance of Diamond Dallas Page and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Finally, it was time for The Rock to make his now annual Mania appearance and as ever he was entertaining. Facing down the Wyatt Family he challenged one of them to a match, defeating Erick Rowan in a record breaking six seconds which, while a wholly pointless match, got a great pop from the crowd and that’s what The Rock at Mania is all about.

As Mania went well past the four hour mark, it was at long last time for the main event, Triple H defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Roman Reigns. The problem with this match is that the outcome was never in doubt, and they took far too long getting there. After the joyous conclusion to Mania XXX and the shocking finale to Mania XXXI, this year’s ended with the crowd booing the new champion, a far from ideal situation. Oh well, at least next year’s Mania can only finish on a brighter note after this.

Overall Mania XXXII was a decent show, and the first that I actually stayed up to watch live, though by the end of the PPV record breaking 4 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds I’d had more than my fill.

Extras on the Blu-ray include the entire Hall of Fame ceremony from the night before Mania, and the three kick off matches.

4 stars

WWE WrestleMania XXXII is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.

 


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