WrestleMania weekend is supposedly the biggest weekend of the year for World Wrestling Entertainment. Legends from the past are brought back and are featured in front of adoring audiences, new stars are presented to casual fans, and storylines are finished off to kick off the company’s “new year.” WrestleMania 32 weekend had many highs and also many lows, and some of the most memorable moments that occurred between Friday and Sunday had nothing to do with the WrestleMania card. NXT Takeover: Dallas may, when all was said and done, have been the best show that the WWE put on over WrestleMania weekend.
Both NXT Takeover: Dallas and WrestleMania 32 presented fans with multiple quality matches that will be worth re-living via the WWE Network. Takeover gave fans a debut that was followed by arguably the best match that has occurred underneath the WWE umbrella for several years. A trio of women stole the show at WrestleMania 32 during a match that will hopefully be a preview of what is to come for that division of the WWE roster. WrestleMania weekend may not have gone as everybody predicted ahead of time, but there is little question that diehard WWE fans who pay $9.99 a month for the WWE Network received great value for their money over the three-day weekend.
10. Michael Hayes’ Hall of Fame Speech
You may not have loved everything about the speech that Michael Hayes gave when The Freebirds were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, Hayes’ speech was heartfelt and as memorable a speech as fans will see on any WWE program. Sure, Hayes may have gone longer than some would have wanted when he first appeared on the stage. The Hall of Fame ceremony is meant to give legends of the industry such as Hayes a platform where they can tell interesting and even funny stories, and Hayes more than delivered during what was one of the best Hall of Fame speeches in the history of the WWE.
9. The Rock’s Segment
The Rock is one of the biggest stars in the history of the WWE, and he is always going to generate a massive pop from an audience whenever he makes an appearance. That was the case at WrestleMania 32. Rock came out from backstage to a huge ovation, he announced that WrestleMania 32 had broken the WWE attendance record, and he cut a promo on the Wyatt Family after Bray Wyatt and his crew interrupted “The People’s Champ.” Fans were then treated to Rock beating Erick Rowan in six seconds and then to John Cena and Rock clearing the ring of the Wyatt Family to close out the segment.
8. Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
Chris Jericho and AJ Styles have a weird chemistry in the ring, almost as if they have never spoken to each other before working a match. The early stages of their WrestleMania 32 contest was clunky and even a bit ugly, but things picked up as the two gained momentum. Fans in the arena and those watching WrestleMania via the WWE Network were left speechless as Jericho kicked out of the “Styles Clash,” and it was Jericho who went over and gained the pin. One would have to assume that Jericho and Styles will continue feuding past WrestleMania. There are worse feuds that could be offered to WWE fans.
7. Sting’s Retirement
It was the worst-kept secret among those in the WWE Universe that Sting was never going to wrestle again because of a neck injury that he suffered in 2015. Sting confirmed this to be true during his Hall of Speech when he announced that he had, in fact, retired. WWE fans did not get to see Sting go over at a big show such a WrestleMania, and that is now something that the company will never be able to go back and correct. We can only dream of what could have been of a WrestleMania match involving Sting and the Undertaker.
6. Shane McMahon’s Dive
Fans knew going into WrestleMania 32 that Shane McMahon was going to take a crazy bump during his Hell in a Cell match versus The Undertaker. McMahon did not disappoint, as he climbed to the very top of the cell and then plummeted to his doom through an announce table after Undertaker moved out of the way. This spill led to the finish, as Undertaker took McMahon back into the ring and then delivered the Tombstone piledriver that ended the contest. That match should theoretically be the end of the Shane McMahon character, and it may also be the final WrestleMania match for Undertaker.
5. American Alpha vs The Revival
NXT Takeover: Dallas was a tremendous show from start to finish. The event began with American Alpha taking on The Revival for the NXT tag team titles. While the match did include one of the worst botches to occur on WWE television over the weekend, it was also the best tag team match that occurred over WrestleMania weekend. American Alpha, as was expected, went over and earned the big win and the belts, and they will now be tasked with carrying the NXT tag team division up through the spring and summer months. It should be fun to watch, as American Alpha are awesome.
4. Asuka vs Bayley
There should be no question that the WWE pays attention to what occurs in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The finish of the match involving Asuka and Bayley was taken straight from the big UFC show that occurred in March 2016. Asuka locked Bayley into a submission hold, and Bayley fought as hard as she should before she was rendered unconscious. The finish made sense, as Asuka has been booked to be an unstoppable force who could not be beaten by even the top babyface in all of NXT. We look forward to seeing Bayley on the WWE main roster at some point during the summer months.
3. Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match
The kickoff to the main WrestleMania 32 show was the ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, and it included some of the best spots of the night. Sami Zayn flew through – yes, through – a ladder and over the top rope onto opposing wrestlers, and the company teased a future feud involving Zayn and Kevin Owens. In the end, it was Zack Ryder who climbed to the top of the ladder and retrieved the belt to the surprise of many watching. That finish proved to be a preview of what was to become one of the weirdest WrestleMania shows the WWE has presented in many years.
2. Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Sasha Banks
It took far too many months following the start of the supposed “Divas Revolution” for the WWE to give fans a match they wanted to see. Charlotte versus Becky Lynch versus Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 32 lived up to expectations, and it was one of the highlights of the WrestleMania card. Banks completed an impressive dive through the ropes and to the outside, Charlotte performed one of the best moonsaults you’ll see at a WWE show all year, and it was Charlotte who retained her championship and who was awarded with the new WWE women’s title belt. Let’s all say it together: WOOOOO!
1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Sami Zayn
Fans in the arena chanted “This is awesome” as Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn stared at each other before the start of the match. Those fans were not wrong, as “awesome” only begins to describe what was the best match of WrestleMania weekend. Nakamura and Zayn performed a match that was different than what we are used to seeing on WWE television, and that it was unique helped make it stand out on what was already a fantastic card. NXT continues to be the top product produced by the WWE, and casual fans who missed NXT Takeover: Dallas need to stop reading and fire up the WWE Network to watch that show immediately.