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    Zayn, Owens win as Ripley wows

    If Night 1 of WrestleMania serves as an appetizer for what could be a historic Sunday, then WWE did it’s job.

    All the right notes were hit, outside of Austin Theory beating John Cena to retain the United States championship the way he did in the opener on Saturday night at SoFi Stadium.

    Though the surprises left something to be desired, WWE delivered the proper conclusions to its biggest stories, an emotional main event and solidified it’s new women’s star.

    Here are five takeaways from Night 1 of WrestleMania.

    Part I Complete

    Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn ending The Uso’s 622-day reign as Undisputed tag team champions just dripped with emotions.

    From the two best friends becoming tag champs for the first time in WWE in the first tag title main event in WrestleMania history, to Los Angeles’ PWG logos on their short, to Zayn’s wife crying at ringside when it was over.

    The clash wasn’t a technical classic but it didn’t need to be.

    This was about the ride and a year of emotions being let out.

    The 1-D and stereo Uso splash weren’t enough to put Zayn and Owens down as were the initial Stunners and Helluva Kicks.

    Late in the match, Zayn thwarted an Avalanche 1-D attempt and eventually got the tag from Owens.

    Zayn, after a long pause, Helluva kicked Jey Uso three times.

    Owens Stunned Jimmy prior to the third before pinning his rival-turned-brother-turned friend to win the match.

    Zayn taking a beating and Owens flying around to come to his aid But at one point, Jimmy and Jey double slammed Owens through the announce table. Zayn somehow kicked out of a 1-D, the first time anyone has.

    Jey asked Zayn why he won’t quit before delivering a Helluva Kick to the former Honorary Uce.

    Zayn, almost our of instinct, followed with an exploder to the turnbuckle before tagging Owens — now a grand slam champ — back in. Helluva Kicks, Pop-up powerbombs and a Stunner followed, but Jey kicked out. Both teams gave each other their best shots until Zayn and Owens prevailed.

    Cody Rhodes didn’t come up to celebrate with his friend but his Undisputed WWE Universal championship match with Roman Reigns on Sunday loomed over it all.

    The Bloodline already has lost some gold, will Rhodes finish the job now and sent them into chaos?

    Stomp and Circumstance

    Logan Paul and Seth Rollins turned in a show-stealing level performance.

    Paul entered by getting lifted up on a bit for a zipline to halfway down the ramp where he was met by his PRIME drink mascot.

    Logan Paul gets ready for a top-rope splash at WrestleMania 39.

    Rollins, wrapped in a lavish red robe got a full choir singing his theme and some fire pyro off the top of the stage in one of the cooler entrances of the night.

    Rollins turned around Paul’s early advantage by avoiding a moonsault, then telling him, ‘you want to play with the big boys bitch’ before three straight suicide dives.

    The Visionary then stomped Paul’s right hand on the steps.

    After a number of fun mat reversals between the two, Paul did land his knockout right hand.

    But the stomp to made him slow to cover and allowed Rollins to kick out.

    KSI, Paul’s buddy and business partner, ended up being in the PRIME mascot. He pulled Paul out of the ring to swing the momentum at one point.

    Paul would set Rollins up on the table, but Rollins pulled KSI on the table instead leaving Paul to landed the splash on his friend stead. Rollins hit a Pedigree in the ring, but Paul kicked.

    Paul countered a Stomp attempt into a GTS and then took too much to attempt a Frog Splash. Rollins kicked.

    As Paul tried to go Coast to Coast, Rollins countered with a superkick A Stomp later and Rollins got the win to a huge crowd reaction.

    The dude is way over and deserved this win, but feel like we may see this again soon.

    Family Pride with some Bunny Business

    I fully expect Bad Bunny to be added to The Judgement Day vs. LWO feud in some way for Backlash in Puerto Rico next month after the artist helped Rey Mysterio defeat his son Dominik in a very story-driven, but emotional match.

    Dominik distracted the ref by taking the turnbuckle cover off and attempted to grab a chain Damian Priest left under his jacket in the ring.

    Bunny, who was on Spanish commentary, grabbed he chain from Dominik could use it.

    It allowed Rey to trip his son up and deliver the 619 and Frog Splash to get the win. This was a very fitting end to the story on Rey’s Hall of Fame weekend.  

    Rey and Dominik got tremendous entrances. Dom was shown being taken out of handcuffs from prison and arrived at SoFi Stadium – dressing with his dad’s purple mask – in a Corrections van flanked by officers.

    Rey paid homage to Eddie Guerrero by being driven out by Snoop Dogg in a low-rider car and with Eddie’s music blared first.

    After Rey threw Dominik into the post, he actually took off his belt and whipped his son’s hide after months of torment.

    Dominik then jawed at this mom and threw a drink into his sister Aalyah’s face to get the upper hand in the match.

    Rey Mysterio hits a frog splash on son Dominik.

    Dom’s mom would slap him later in the match.

    Priest and Finn Balor eventually made their way to ringside.

    Dom flipped Rey in the bottom rope before attempting the Three Amigos.

    Rey countered, hit a 619 but Judgement Day’s interference cut the momentum short.

    Eventually the newly formed LWO came out to even the odds, but Dominik was still able to land 619 and a frog splash but Rey kicked before the end sequence played out.

    Tide Has Turned

    Rhea Ripley was striving for a star-making performance and she and Charlotte Flair worked their way to one.

    It took Ripley slamming Flair’s head into the top of the ring post and hitting a Riptide from the middle rope to finally put her nemesis away and become SmackDown women’s champion and avenge her WrestleMania 36 loss.

    Rhea Ripley celebrates winning the SmackDown women’s championship.

    The win officially stamps her as a main-event talent and got one of the bigger pops of the night.

    The crowd got into this match about midway through as the two really began putting their athleticism and power on display. Ripley rolled up and lifted a leaping Flair, who would then counter a Riptide into a big DDT. Flair stepped over Ripley and went to the top rope.

    Ripley ran up and suplexed Flair, flipping her over face first in the process, but could not score the pin.

    Flair took a second suplex, flipped and landed face-first to the mat later on as she went the extra mile to make Ripley look good.  

    A second Ripetide attempted got countered into a German suplex, but Ripley landed the third and Flair kicked out to a gasp of disbelief from the crowd.

    A Ripley kick-out brought out rage as both dug deep.

    Ripley got to the bottom rope before Flair could even get the Figure 8 on and you could see the frustration on Queen’s face before she took a risk on the ropes that led to her defeat.

    Flair sitting outside the ring sad but clapping as Ripley stood over he with the belt was a cool visual.

    Opening Plight

    John Cena dominated early and mocked Theory a bit leading to the champ resorting to biting his idol and hitting him from behind in frustration.

    A super cocky Theory tried a second rolling drop kick, but Cena countered into an STF that forced his opponent to have to bite him to break the hold.

    Austin Theory defeated John Cena to retain the United States championship.

    Theory countered a first Attitude Adjustment into a DDT.

    Cena was later able to land a Five Knuckle Shuffle, but the ref was knocked out as Theory countered an AA attempt.

    The ref was unable to see Theory tapping out to the STF.

    It opened a door for a low blow and an A-Town Down that allowed the champ to retain.

    I guess cheating puts more heat on Theory and furthers the idea he is willing to cut corners.

    But this was a basic match and a pretty anticlimactic start to the show. Cena’s last win at WrestleMania came with Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33 in 2017 he is overdue.

    Other matches

    Becky Lynch, Lita Trish Stratus over Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Sky

    Lynch did the majority of the work early, but Damage CTRL kept keeping her from making a tag.

    Eventually, Lita got involved and mixed it up with Iyo Sky, but got isolated by Damage CTRL before finally tagging Stratus in. She had a cool bulldog and half-hurricanrana on Sky and Bayley.

    She also flipped Kai off the top rope to the outside with her legs after a  boost up from her teammates.

    Sky delivered her signature moonsault to the outside leaving everyone down.

    The two teams regrouped in the ring after that.

    Stratus hit a Chick Kick and Lita a Lita-sault to take care of Sky and Kia.

    It left Lynch to counter Bayley’s Bayley to Belly attempt from the top rope into a Manhandle Slam for the win.

    Trish Stratus attacks Dakota Kai.

    Stratus and Lita did an excellent job playing the hits and this match was about as good as you could expect.

    No sign of any potential Stratus turn on Lynch and Damage CTRL feels a bit rudderless after this.

    We will see what happens on Monday.

    Street Profits over Chad Gable and Otis, The Viking Raiders, Braun Strowman and Ricochet

    Chad Gable did an insane rolling German suplex on Braun Strowman, who later did a big splash of the top rope.

    We also got a nuts six-man super-plex and Ricochet leapt into it to finish off. Angelo Dawkins cut off the Strowman Express with a viscous shoulder block.

    Ricochet hit a smooth Shooting Star press to the outside, but Dawkins got his knees up on one in the ring.

    It opened the door for Montez Ford to hit a Frog Splash for the win.

    The Street Profits might be next inline for a tag team title shot after this.

    Credit to all eight men for a show-stealing level performance.

    Pat McAfee over The Miz

    McAfee made a surprise appearance to beat the Miz in an impromptu match.

    Miz tried to leave but attacked the 49ers’ George Kittle, who was sitting ringside. Kittle jumped the barricade and clotheslines Miz before McAfee leaped from the top rope on to him and beat Miz with high Punt Kick to minimal crowed reaching.

    Corey Graves’ exceptional commentary was the only thing that made this worth watching.

    He called McAfee “Aaron Rodgers’ propaganda machine” and railed on him just showing up the whole time. We need a Graves-McAfee match at some point, for real.  

    Bigger Winner: Rhea Ripley

    Biggest Loser: Damage CTRL

    Best Match: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley, SmackDown women’s championship

    Best Entrance: Dominik Mysterio

    Predictions: 5-2

    Grade: B+

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