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WrestleMania 40 Night 2 Review (08/04/2024)

By Mick Robson

Originally posted on

We're fast-tracking this one again on Patreon- no paywall here, free members and everyone gets to read it. I'll be doing the same thing for other content this week- PWA's EmoMania will get a review here likely on Wednesday! If you like the content, consider supporting and moving to the main tiers- starts at $5 a month and includes perks like requests for content- want a review on a certain show or an article about a particular wrestler or topic? Let me know! Higher tiers also include merch- stickers, mugs, even expanding to clothes soon!

If you missed Night 1, the review of that is the post below this on Patreon, as well as the main Arena site here:

Not much to talk about in the preamble here. The Rock and Roman Reigns won last night's mega tag match, meaning tonight is Bloodline Rules, anything goes, for Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship. The story's almost over. Will it have a happy ending?

Let's do this!


Michael Cole lets us know that Cody Rhodes hasn't been seen all day, he's been locked away on his bus. Also, the weather isn't as bad as yesterday, so hopefully these fans wake up! Their lack of reaction yesterday genuinely hurt the show quality for me.

The War and Treaty performed God Bless America. I'm not in it for the patriotism, being an Aussie, but they sounded good!

Stephanie McMahon made her entrance! Great to see the Billion Dollar Princess back in WWE. She distanced herself following the Vince controversy. I don't like to get into this stuff, but it grinds my gears a little when people go after Steph, or Triple H, or Nick Khan, or Bruce Prichard, for what Vince did. At best, they might have been aware that Vince was having an affair, but not the level of depravity involved. It's on Vince, his actions, no one else.

Anyway, Stephanie talks about her history with WrestleMania, and how proud she is to be there for the Paul Levesque era. Tell you what, between this and the comments made at the Hall of Fame, the subtext sure seems to be "fuck Vince". They've continually emphasised the "new era", "professional wrestling" over "sports entertainment", and generally seems like they're moving on from weird old Vince and his fetishes. Just seems more relaxed and free.

Steph steals Triple H's "are you ready" routine, and we're ready for Night 2. Also, Triple H posted a pic of the two embracing backstage, with the caption "Forever." That should help clear up those divorce rumours.

Drew makes his entrance for the opening match with a band playing bagpipes. The injured CM Punk is there on guest commentary, and says, "he's got a pipe band, and I've got a pipebomb." Seth Rollins enters with a cast of colourful characters in a band dancing their way to the ring. Punk seems perplexed by it before saying, "Liberace is rolling in his grave".

Match 1: World Heavyweight Championship- Drew McIntyre def. Seth Rollins (c) (at 10:30)

Thoughts: This was a high impact battle, a direct contrast to the long, drawn out war that closed Night 1 of Mania. It began with a huge attention getter, as Drew immediately clocked Seth with the Claymore. They told the story that Rollins was compromised, coming off injury and putting himself through the ringer in last night's tag match.

Drew showed off his power with a massive belly to belly on the floor. He posed with a beautiful woman in the front row wearing a "I Prayed For This" tank top- wait, that's his wife?! Well done Drew. McIntyre tries to powerbomb Rollins through the announce table- right in front of Punk, who is taking plenty of verbal jabs on commentary- but Rollins escaped and hits a Stomp on the table. Back in the ring, Drew hits another sudden Claymore, but Seth kicks out. One more, and that'll do it. Drew finally gets his moment in front of fans! Of note, Seth Rollins is shown on camera with tears in his eyes, saying, "you f**king deserve it, man". Don't hate the kayfabe breaking here, but the tears- is Seth going away?

Drew presents the title to his wife before going over, crawling onto the announce table and talking shit right to Punk's face. Punk takes the high road until McIntyre stands up and does the "suck it" taunt right in his face. So Punk sweeps his legs out, making him crash onto the table, then takes off his arm brace and hits him with it!

Damian Priest's music hits, and he's cashing in Money In The Bank! Having a flashback, Punk grins and blows Drew's wife a kiss.

Match 2: World Heavyweight Championship- Damian Priest def. Drew McIntyre (c) (at 0:09)

Thoughts: Priest hits South of Heaven, 1-2-3, that's it. Huge moment, and only the second man to ever cash in at WrestleMania, after, well, Seth Rollins. Explosive start to the show!

Star Rating (combined): ****1/4. The Seth/Drew match itself was great, and Punk getting into some physicality seems to indicate he's healing ahead of schedule. Maybe Summerslam for him and Drew? Starting the show with a cash-in is massive, a bit of a statement that they were willing to start the show on something so hot.

We're set for the Philly Street Fight. We're got an unadvertised special guest commentator, Snoop Dogg, who brought his WWE Golden Title with him. And an unadvertised special guest referee- Bubba Ray Dudley! Nice ECW tie in, and big pop in Philadelphia. Worth noting that this crowd is 110% better than yesterday here. Amazing what the weather can do!

Match 3: Philadelphia Street Fight- Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (w/ B-Fab) def. The Final Testament (Karrion Kross and AOP (Akam & Rezar)) (w/ Scarlett & Paul Ellering) (at 8:35)

Thoughts: I wasn't expecting much from this match. I like Lashley & The Profits, but find everyone in The Final Testament pretty boring, and have felt the same about the feud. But the stipulation worked in their favour, as the action was chaotic with a fast pace.

Snoop Dogg was a riot on commentary- I forgot how funny he was when they had him on that UFC series, I think he called Sean O'Malley first fight? And Bubba added to things as the ref, as when a frustrated Kross pushed him, he put on the old Dudleys glasses and directed the Profits in hitting a "Wassup?" Even Scarlett and B-Fab got involved, both crashing through a table at ringside!

Ultimately, the finish comes with a beautiful Montez Ford frog splash through a table. Make that man a singles star already!

Star Rating: ***1/2. Far exceeded expectations. Very fun gimmick match and a tribute of sorts to ECW, in the home of the Extreme. And hey, Lashley is a former ECW Champion! (I know.)

Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviews Paul Heyman. I love the banter between these two. She congratulates him on the HOF, then asks about "Bloodline Rules". Heyman is perfectly patronising in his response. "Come on," he says. It's anything goes. It's whatever the Tribal Chief wants. The winner goes home with the WWE title. The loser goes home to his wife Brandi. Ooh.

LA Knight is shown driving up to the arena in a Slim Jim sports car. A video package airs on the LA Knight/AJ Styles feud. Styles even flew 20 something hours to Perth to cost Knight the Elimination Chamber! A generational hater.

AJ enters to a new theme song. Has elements of the old one with a darker spin. I kinda dig it.

Match 4: LA Knight def. AJ Styles (at 12:24)

Thoughts: Another match that blew away my rather low expectations. Knight is over for his gift of the gab, but not known for his long list of classic matches, and AJ has a weird knack for underwhelming performances at WrestleMania. As someone said on Twitter following this match, he's had Mania matches with Randy Orton, Edge, Chris Jericho, Shinsuke Nakamura... and his best ones have been with Shane McMahon and now LA Knight. Weird.

AJ returned from injury in the best (ridiculously jacked) shape of his career, and can still move much like his younger self. He's right on the door of 47, and he busted out a flawless springboard 450! Knight came back with a huge move of his own- an avalanche German suplex off the top rope! AJ fought on, and almost won by countout after back dropping Knight on the exposed floor. Ultimately, LA escaped a Styles Clash attempt and hit a BFT shortly after for his first WrestleMania victory!

Star Rating: ***3/4. This was intense work the whole way, befitting the feud. Much better than the awkward "fights" that they tried to stage on media days leading into Mania. I respect the attempt at something different, but watching them grapple, throwing next to no strikes, while people stand around doing nothing kinda sucked. Luckily, the payoff Mania match absolutely did not. YEAH!

An ad airs for The King & Queen of the Ring in Saudi Arabia. Pat McAfee seems very hyped about it, and Cole goes, "You're not going". A quick exclamation and look of glee from Graves at the prospect of the controversial McAfee going to Saudi Arabia was interesting. WWE are always so careful to present the country in such a respectful way. Under Triple H, do they fulfil the obligations then get the hell out of there? I think there's still a few years left- they signed up for a 10 year deal if I remember correctly.

We get a video recap of the HOF ceremony- sadly neglecting Heyman's "suck my f**king dick" line- and then the inductees come out on the stage. Heyman is presented as the headline inductor, despite having his speech first at the ceremony, coming out last to his ECW music holding the WWE Universal Championship.

Match 5: WWE United States Championship- Logan Paul (c) def. Randy Orton & Kevin Owens (at 17:40)

Thoughts: This actually fell a shade under my expectations, but I will say that my expectations were ridiculously high for this. The entrances were cool, with a bit of that over the top flavour that makes WrestleMania fun. Logan came out in a giant Prime truck with another Prime bottle mascot. Kevin Owens came out on a golf cart, and offered Randy Orton a ride to the ring, which he accepted. Aww, buddies.

In the early going, Owens and Orton team up to beat down Logan. Smart. The champ comes back with a double Buckshot Lariat. Impressive. Eventually, Owens is like, "are we gonna do this now? Instead of fighting over the pin?" or something to that effect, and when Orton affirms, they start throwing hands. I do love the more recent wrinkle in KO's character where he's hyper-aware of all the pro wrestling tropes.

We get more smart work from Logan as he just gets the brass knuckles out. Hey, no DQs in a triple threat, why wouldn't you just do that? He cracks both challengers, but they survive and eventually disarm him. The Prime bottle guy saves Logan from the Punt Kick- it's YouTuber/streamer IShowSpeed. Yeah, I had no idea who he was. He swears a ton and gets muted. Orton kicks him HARD, rips off his costume and RKOs him through the table.

We get finishers traded, including an awesome counter of the pop-up powerbomb into the RKO by Orton. Logan seizes the opportunity and throws Orton out of the ring, hitting Owens with a massive frog splash for the win. Look, it's a tiny bit cheap, but still a fair win, really. Good for Logan Paul.

Star Rating: ***3/4. It was still really good, I just thought it might have been a weekend-stealing classic. Highly enjoyable triple threat that I'd watch again, great action and character-appropriate moments. God, that Speed kid was annoying though. It kills me when people that obnoxious find success, especially when it seems to be the root of their success. These kids confuse obnoxiousness for charisma... get off my lawn... old man grumble.

Probably a good moment to quickly acknowledge the Prime logo on the mat. They changed it up a little from what was shown on Smackdown, a black and white logo over a colour one. A good move, less "in your face" but still visible.

Time for the women's championship match! Bayley comes out in Egyptian garb. I thought she was Latina? Iyo Sky comes out with Damage CTRL on the stage, but they walk to the back and let her fight solo.

Match 6: WWE Women's Championship- Bayley def. Iyo Sky (c) (at 14:20)

Thoughts: This match had everything. Technical wrestling exchanges, strong striking/brawling, and even a dose of ringside shenanigans. I feel like the feud itself went cold after the initial Damage CTRL turn on Bayley, but Iyo and Bayley did a nice job ramping up the intensity here to help sell the personal issue.

Early on, Bayley hit a rare suicide dive and came up limping, causing Sky to target the knee relentlessly. Bayley kept showing heart and the fans rallied behind her with the old "Hey Bayley" song, which she seemed genuinely touched by. Bayley used her veteran wiles to counter Iyo's moves at the perfect times, including catching a flying attack off the barricade with a spinebuster, getting the feet up on a moonsault, and moving out of the way on another occasion. Not to be outdone, Iyo countered the Rose Plant by flipping through, in a move so smooth it drew gasps from the crowd.

Ultimately, Bayley needed to gut it out and bring something a little different, and did that with a high angle Saito suplex! A flying elbow drop follows, then a weakened Sky falls to the Rose Plant!

Star Rating: ****. This was an epic battle. They showed a wide variety of skills, and this was really a coming out party for Bayley as a more serious, mature, babyface. She's not that girl with the cute ponytail anymore, she's a woman that's been through her share of shit, and the Philly crowd got right behind her as she gutted it out and claimed victory in her first singles match at WrestleMania. Amazing stuff!

They show a bunch of celebrities in the crowd, including NFL player George Kittle (who got involved last year in McAfee vs. Miz), T-Pain and Vanessa Hudgens! Oh man, I had such a crush on her in High School Musical (shut up). Still gorgeous!

Snoop Dogg does the attendance- 72,755. Then the two night attendance- 145,298. The two night attendance figure bugs me way more than it should, I think maybe because it gets used in tribalistic wars with AEW. "Oh, All In drew that much? Well, WrestleMania drew this much!" When really, it's probably the same 72,000+ turning up both nights for both halves of the show. It's just so misleading.

A video airs for the main event.

Cody Rhodes makes his entrance wearing a skull mask... and hey, Brandi Rhodes is at his side! First time she's been properly on TV since AEW. She's still hot, but still likely useless at anything to do with wrestling. Roman Reigns gets a grand entrance with an orchestra.

Main Event: WWE Undisputed Universal Championship- Bloodline Rules- Cody Rhodes def. Roman Reigns (w/ Paul Heyman) (at 33:25)

Thoughts: This might be the greatest thing I've ever seen. Pure spectacle, pure fuckery and I loved it. For the first 10-15 minutes, they had a very standard match. A brief brawl in the crowd, a brief use of a kendo stick, but otherwise a one on one fair match with no one else in sight. I was a bit worried, and logically it still bugs me, if the Bloodline won, they got Bloodline Rules, but they were happy to let a standard match play out here. What if Cody won off a flash pin before any of them could make it to the ring? Then there was no point in Bloodline Rules at all. I feel like it would have made more sense to start with Jimmy, Solo, Rock, everyone out there, bringing out Cody's friends, they cancel each other out, we get a stretch of just Roman vs. Cody, and then maybe you get more Bloodline/Cody & Friends involvement at the finish.

I didn't need to worry though, because the intensity picked up after Cody managed to chain together Cross Rhodes- a nice touch that he kept going for the Super Finisher, knowing a normal Cross Rhodes wouldn't get the job done. Then the chaos started. Jimmy Uso interferes to prevent Cody from finishing the story. Jey Uso comes out and Spears Jimmy off the elevated ramp through a table 20 feet below! Then Solo comes out. John Cena comes out to even the odds. Solo was the one who took Cena out way back at Crown Jewel, so major points for long-term storytelling there. Cena hits Reigns with the AA then puts Solo through the Spanish announcers table to take him out of the equation. Enter The Rock, who stares down his old rival Cena and gives him the Rock Bottom. The Shield music hits, and this is getting so nuts that I think we've got Jon Moxley coming out, but it's Seth in Shield gear. Reigns takes him out with a Superman Punch. GONG. The Undertaker appears and Chokeslams Rock! Total chaos and carnage.

Back to Reigns vs. Rhodes, and Reigns has a steel chair. Roman sees Seth in the Shield gear and has a flashback to 2014, where Seth betrayed the Shield by hitting him with a chair. So Roman gets his revenge for that, allowing Cody to hit his three Cross Rhodes- and FINISH THE STORY!

Star Rating: *****. Everything that makes pro wrestling great. So much shenanigans and bullshit, so much fun. When old heads like me talk about missing the Attitude Era, people think "oh, you just want the swearing and blood and tits". And while I'm definitely not against those things, what I miss about the Attitude Era is this wild, unpredictable, anything can happen, anyone can show up, exciting energy. That's all it is. Pro wrestling at its best.

Post-match, Cody Rhodes is joined by his locker room friends. Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn. CM Punk comes out. We also get his family and friends. Brandi's back, Cody's mum is there, Brodie Jr. Cody presents the WWE title to his mother. Okay, that's an awesome moment. I wasn't a massive Cody fan before, but this whole night converted me. Team Cody all the way.

Cody gets on the mic and says his return to WWE wouldn't have happened without Bruce Prichard and Triple H, and they come out and hug him. One big happy family. They eventually leave the ring so he can hit his pose and get the big pyro shot to close the show. Awesome.

Overall Thoughts

This was the first time since we've done two night WrestleManias that Night 2 cleared Night 1, and it did so by a considerable distance. I wonder if it'd be a little closer had the weather been better for Night 1. The lack of enthusiasm really hurt the atmosphere of a lot of matches there, whereas today when it was warmer, they brought it.

They truly pulled out all the stops in that main event. An instant classic and a worthy way to end the mammoth title reign of Roman Reigns. The longest reign ever would have been too much, but being able to claim the longest reign of the past 35-40 years is pretty cool. Cody stepped up to the plate, and now we have a new story- can Cody be THAT GUY? He's been put in the position to be the next face of the company- the next Hogan, Austin, Cena, Roman... can he do it? We're gonna find out soon, and that's an exciting prospect in itself.

The rest of the show was top notch too. Every single match and moment was "really good" at the very least. Nothing disappointed, I was entertained the whole time. Notably, when Cody said, "I know it's been a long night" in his post-match speech, I didn't feel that at all. Absolutely flew by!

Overall Score: 9.5/10 (taking off the 0.5 for no Stone Cold, I dunno)

Until next time, take care.


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Image of Mick Robson, founder of The Arena Media

Mick Robson is a freelance writer from Australia. A lifelong fan of pro wrestling and MMA, he endeavours to bring that passion through his coverage in news, reviews and opinion pieces.

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