WWE’s WrestleMania 36 has been one of the strangest WWE pay-per-view events in history so far, mostly because it’s the only WrestleMania ever that had to be spread across two nights and filmed in advance on a closed set at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Those factors combined during Day 1 to produce some of the biggest winners and losers in recent WWE PPV history. Here are the biggest and best ones from the first day of action.
Winner – Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins Stealing Show
Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins put on the matches of the night at WrestleMania 36. Both were at the top of their games and the emotional capital each superstar seemed to spend in the ring seemed real and visceral. Owens actually ended up scoring two wins over Rollins at WrestleMania 36. The first came via disqualification after Rollins hit Owens with the ringside bell. The second came after Owens lured Rollins back into the ring and returned the favor in an impromptu no disqualification match.
But the biggest moment of both matches (and all of Day 1) came when Owens climbed the signage above the ring to drop his body onto Rollins on a table below him. It was a legit awesome move on the biggest stage and one truly worthy of any WrestleMania ever.
Loser – Shayna Baszler’s Epic Come-Up
Shayna Baszler’s epic come-up just seems wasted now after seeing Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch score the win over her at WrestleMania 36. It’s not so much that Lynch grabbed the win. It’s that Baszler was depicted as some kind of unstoppable force during all the build-up and when she got to the ring to face Lynch all that was suddenly gone. In fact, the match was surprisingly even from the very beginning, which means all the storytelling the WWE did beforehand was basically just pointless.
Winner – Matches Where Nobody Seems To Know The Rules
What’s a Boneyard Match? It seems we all learned the rules of such as it unfolded on our screen on Saturday night when The Undertaker showed up in his American Badass persona and literally buried A.J. Styles inside a freshly dug grave. This match was epic. It didn’t really make much sense or pretend to try to conform to the basic natural laws governing our universe. But it was truly a work of art.
Loser – Daniel Bryan’s Career Trajectory
Daniel Bryan was once perhaps the most popular WWE superstar on the planet. But today his career seems to be in the doldrums which isn’t probably what he expected to happen when he returned from a career-threatening injury two years ago. And at Wrestlemania 36, Bryan suffered the loss to Sami Zayn. Zayn is super fun as a heel, but he’s nowhere near the top of the roster in terms of star power. Bryan’s loss to Zayn is just another example of why maybe he’s a better fit for a behind-the-scenes role at this point in his career.
Winner – Braun Strowman Finally Winning World Championship
Finally, Braun Strowman cleanly pinned a dominant champion on a big PPV card to claim a world championship. This should have happened at least two years ago. Strowman is always depicted as an absurdly large and powerful terror but the writers have never really put their pedal to the metal in terms of making him seem as unstoppable as he appears.
That changed when he squashed Goldberg at WrestleMania 36. Of course, it only happened because Roman Reigns pulled out of the card at the last minute. But at least it finally happened. Strowman is one of the biggest and best superstars in the company. He absolutely deserved this WrestleMania 36 spotlight.