Thanks to an unforgettable main event and strong performances throughout the card, WWE WrestleMania 36 Part 1 gave us the best show we could have asked for. Few people could have expected that the second installment of the show would exceed its predecessor. Like Saturday’s event, Part 2 featured a match that redefined what we’ve come to expect out of a wrestling match. But the Boneyard Match was amazing, the Firefly Fun House was even better, in its own way. Plus, several more incredible pay-offs for long-running stories made the show as fun as any WrestleMania in recent memory.
Let’s start at the end. Drew McIntyre is the new WWE Champion. The match wasn’t pretty; it featured both participants spamming their finishers and, like Goldberg’s match on Saturday, it was quite short. But as soon as the show moved to the Performance Center, we weren’t going to get that iconic moment where McIntyre basked in the fans’ cheers after a hard-fought match. So it’s hard to complain with how WWE presented this bout, especially given that it followed the crazy Firefly Fun House Match. Whatever happens next, McIntyre is on top of the mountain and, boy, he deserves it. He’s got everything it takes to be “the guy” for WWE in the present and the future. It’s about dang time.
The Firefly Fun House Match will stick with me long after the end of WrestleMania 36. More than any other match in recent memory, this bout tied in so much long-term storytelling that it blew my mind. WWE is notorious for its reluctance to acknowledge its own continuity and tell grand stories that span multiple years. But here, we went deep into the background of both competitors. Wyatt and Cena satirized their previous failures and used them to craft a masterful narrative in which both men put their pasts to rest. There’s so much to unpack; the match featured tributes to the New World Order, 80s wrestling, multiple stages of Cena’s early WWE career, Wyatt’s days with the Wyatt family and more. All of it was mind-blowing. It was so refreshing to see WWE reward the fans who have been watching the product for a long time by incorporating all of these references into the match. The transitions were fittingly chaotic for a Firefly Fun House match. Sure, it was a little hard to follow at points but it was a wildly fun ride. For Wyatt, the win should firmly cement him as a top act for years to come. For Cena, given that he literally disappeared from the ring, this might be the end (for now, at least.) If that’s the case, what a way to go out; he just made Wyatt a bona fide star.
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