WWE WrestleMania 36 results, recap, grades: Huge title changes, epic special matches on unique 2020 show – CBSSports.com

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WWE WrestleMania 36 results, recap, grades: Huge title changes, epic special matches on unique 2020 show – CBSSports.com

The unique, unplanned and uncertain circumstances of WrestleMania 36 being pre-taped from the empty WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, left fans with no idea what to expect from the event as it began Saturday night and continued into Sunday. With WWE deciding to move ahead after relocating the show from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is fair to state that WWE’s biggest show of the year surpassed any reasonable expectations with a mix of high-quality in-ring action and two of the most bizarre — yet entertaining — matches in WWE history.

The final match of the two nights featured a major changing of the guard for the promotion with Drew McIntyre scoring an emphatic victory over Brock Lesnar after four Claymores to win the WWE championship. McIntyre joined Braun Strowman as the men to leave the weekend with the biggest titles in the company after Strowman made quick work of Goldberg on night one to win the universal championship.

But the two matches that will likely define WrestleMania 36’s legacy were cinematic experiences unlike anything done in WWE history. On night one, The Undertaker met AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match, which played out like the climactic set piece in an action move set in a remote graveyard. Night 2 took things up a notch with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt winning a Firefly FunHouse match over John Cena in what was more artistic fever dream than professional wrestling contest. The matches took full advantage of the bizarre circumstances under which WWE had to hold the show, operating outside the standard “universe” of WWE and taking things in directions never before utilized.

Check out complete results from WrestleMania 36 below with the matches segmented based on which night they were held. This story will be updated shortly with the best highlights from the matches held over the course of the weekend in Orlando.

WWE WrestleMania 36 results, grades

Night 1 (Saturday)

Cesaro vs. Drew Gulak (Kickoff Show): The two had a solid but short match. Gulak came out fired up and took the offense to Cesaro before throwing him twice into the ring steps. An attempt to take to the air was countered with a European uppercut from Cesaro that turned the tide, eventually leading to the finish, a no-hands airplane spin into a slam by Cesaro. Too short to be good, too well-executed to be bad. Cesaro def. Gulak via pinfall — Grade: C

Women’s Tag Team Championship — The Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross: A surprisingly hard-hitting match between the four competitors opened the show with some big spots throughout. Cross had to battle her way through a late double team that included Asuka and Kairi Sane hitting a combination powerbomb and diving forearm before getting the tag to Bliss. From there, Bliss hit her second Twisted Bliss of the match, pinning Sane and winning the titles in the process. This is the duo’s second time holding the titles. Bliss & Cross def. Kabuki Warriors via pinfall to win the titles — Grade: B-

King Corbin vs. Elias: Corbin was out to the ring first, demanding he be declared winner by forfeit after his assault on Elias eight days ago. Elias made his way to the ring, shocking Corbin before blasting him with his guitar. Corbin rallied to lay a beating on Elias while demanding Michael Cole and JBL on commentary acknowledge how good he had been doing. Corbin attempted to use the ropes for leverage on a late pin, getting caught by the ref in the process. As he protested, Elias scored a roll-up while holding the tights to get the win in a match that felt a bit overlong for the mix of styles. Elias def. Corbin via pinfall — Grade: C-

Raw Women’s Championship — Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler: Lynch and Baszler put on a match heavy with strikes and submission attempts, giving the feeling more of a fight than a wrestling match. That was for the best when it comes to Baszler’s top attributes, as she spent much of the match taking heavy offense to the champion. Lynch was forced to repeatedly counter Baszler’s attempts to lock in the Kirifuda Clutch. In the end, it was one of those counters that scored Lynch the victory. Bringing back a classic finish from Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper at WrestleMania XIII, Lynch rolled backward through the hold to pin Baszler’s shoulders to the mat for the pinfall victory. Lynch came out of the match looking strong, but Baszler losing her first shot at the title has to give some pause to anyone thinking she was a sure-fire star on the main roster. Lynch def. Baszler via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: B-

Intercontinental Championship — Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan: The story of the match was almost entirely Zayn begging Drew Gulak to let him go, avoiding contact at all costs. Bryan was eventually able to trick Zayn into a wrestling match, which he almost entirely dominated. Zayn begged Bryan to stop before Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro caused a distraction. After Bryan hit Nakamura and Cesaro with a suicide dive, he went to the top rope but was caught by a Helluva Kick from Zayn, leading to the pinfall victory and a successful title defense. The match told a perfectly good story in line with recent weeks of action, but there’s a certain sense of disappointment that Zayn and Bryan weren’t able to go out and put on the match they’re capable of with their elite skills. Zayn def. Bryan via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: B

SmackDown Tag Team Championship — John Morrison (c) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso (Ladder Match): This was the show-stealing match for Night 1. With no crowd to help build big moments, there was a strong chance for disappointment from the bout, but all three men went at a breakneck pace in the singles match for the tag titles. The expected big bumps were on display with men being dumped from ladders, onto ladders and to the outside. Morrison in particular hit an impressive parkour move from the top of the ring post onto Uso, who was on an elevated ladder between the turnbuckles. The ending of the match came when all three men were holding the title rig as Uso unhooked it from the cable suspending it from the ceiling. As they battled over the belts, Morrison was knocked from the top of the ladder, pulling the belts with him to earn the victory and retain the championships for his team. Morrison def. Kingston and Uso to retain the titles — Grade: B+

24/7 Championship: As Rob Gronkowski and Mojo Rawley were celebrating atop the perch midway through the show, R-Truth hopped into the frame. Gronk tried to punch and pin Truth, but Rawley pulled off the former Patriots star and got the 1-2-3. Rawley def. R-Truth and Gronkowski to win the title

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins: Rollins took over the early part of the match with a cheap shot before the two battled back and forth with tons of counters and reversals that would have excited the crowd if one was in attendance. Rollins, looking for the easy way out, used the ring bell to hit Owens, leading the referee to call the match off and award Owens the win via disqualification. Owens then called Rollins out, saying he didn’t get to end things so easily and demanding they continue without disqualifications. Rollins agreed, coming back to continue the attack on Owens, taunting, “You said you wanted your WrestleMania moment?!” Owens eventually used the same ring bell to take over the match before diving from the WrestleMania sign and driving Rollins through the announce table with a senton. After that, it only took Owens a moment to drag Rollins to the ring, hit a stunner and pick up the victory. The lack of a crowd added a bit to this match with both men constantly trash talking each other and it adding a nastiness to the bout it may have missed otherwise. Owens def. Rollins via pinfall — Grade: B+

Universal Championship — Goldberg (c) vs. Braun Strowman: A quick match, as was expected, and one that very much could have used a crowd reaction. Goldberg hit four spears, but his attempt at a Jackhammer on the big man was countered into a powerslam. Strowman would hit three more powerslams before scoring the pin to become universal champion in a very flat sprint. Strowman def. Goldberg via pinfall to win the title — Grade: D+

The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles (Boneyard Match): This was, as anticipated, a WWE “cinematic experience.” An elaborate hearse entrance at the cemetery was a swerve with Styles being revealed as in a coffin in the back. Undertaker arrived for the “match” on a motorcycle with Metallica playing over the video. The match turned into a brawl that ranged from the graveyard to a barn to the barn’s rooftop with Taker battling Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows — as well as hooded “druids.” At one point, Styles had Taker in an open grave before Taker somehow materialized behind him. From that point, it was all Undertaker, as he brutalized Styles before throwing him off the barn roof. Styles attempted to apologize and begged Taker not to bury him. Taker said he wouldn’t because of the fight Styles had put up, before kicking him into the grave and using a tractor to fill the grave, winning WWE’s first boneyard match. The experience was campy, corny and somehow incredibly entertaining. It was not a wrestling match in any sort of traditional sense, but it was as well done as anything involving Undertaker can possibly be in 2020 and on entertainment alone, it was a success. Undertaker def. Styles via burial — Grade: A

Night 2 (Sunday)

Liv Morgan vs. Natalya (Kickoff Show): Natalya is a steady hand in the ring, and Morgan was more than capable in holding up her end of the match. An attempt by Natalya to lock in the Sharpshooter was countered into a pin attempt. That moment set off a chain of reversals, ending when Morgan scored the cross-legged roll-up for the win. The match felt a bit more substantial than the night one kickoff match between Cesaro and Drew Gulak. Liv Morgan def. Natalya via pinfall — Grade: C+

NXT Women’s Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair: The first match of night two delivered in a big way. The women battled for almost 30 minutes with convincing near falls throughout for both. Ripley hit Riptide very early in the match but couldn’t get the 1-2-3, allowing Flair to storm back with an all-out attack on the champion’s leg. Ripley fought off Flair’s trademark Figure Eight multiple times throughout the bout, storming back again and again. Ripley also locked Flair in her inverted standing Cloverleaf submission but was unable to get the tap out. Finally, the accumulated damage to Ripley’s leg caught up to her and Flair was able to lock in the submission, bridging fully for the added pressure to force Ripley to tap out and win the title. The two women deserve tremendous credit for putting on a dramatic match at a perfect pace to push past the obvious hurdle of no crowd in attendance. This is one of the stand-out bouts of the weekend. Flair def. Ripley via submission to win the title — Grade: A-

Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley: This match had the poor fortune of following Flair vs. Ripley, but the two men put in a solid effort. Black struggled with Lashley’s power early, taking a belly-to-belly suplex on the outside. Black eventually took over with his striking game. After Lana convinced Lashley to stop trying to tire out Black and instead finish him, Lashley ran in for a spear that Black countered with a Black Mass kick to score the victory. These are valuable matches for Black, who showed an ability to hang with a “big man” on the main roster. Black def. Lashley via pinfall — Grade: B-

Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler: The match suffered a bit in feeling like it was paced for a live audience. A Ziggler chinlock spot early felt as though it dragged on because there was no crowd to drive the rally. Sonya Deville was in Ziggler’s corner after the duo was outed as being responsible for ruining Otis’ Valentine’s Day date with Mandy Rose. Late Deville interference — she distracted the referee and allowed Ziggler to hit a low blow on Otis — was countered when Rose’s music hit and she ran in to deliver a slap to Deville and a low blow to Ziggler. With Ziggler down, Otis hit the Caterpillar for the three count. As he celebrated with Rose after his win, Otis got the ultimate WrestleMania moment, lifting Rose in his arms and planting a kiss on her while carrying her to the back. Otis def. Ziggler via pinfall — Grade: C+

Edge vs. Randy Orton (Last Man Standing): Edge and Orton brawled through the entire PC throughout the match. However, Orton attacked Edge with a RKO before the match and another seconds after the opening bell before the two engaged in an extremely long brawl through the building. The match revolved mainly around punches and kicks with both men being thrown into various equipment in the gym, office and a storage area. One signature spot from Edge was an elbow drop hanging from the ceiling of the conference room. When Edge continued to rise from the attacks of Orton, the two ended up on the top of a semi. Orton was ready to hit a con-chair-to, calling back to his attack on the Raw after the Royal Rumble. Edge avoided the chair, locking Orton in an arm-triangle choke, seemingly wrapping up the win. He stopped the ref from making the count, however, before delivering the con-chair-to himself. An emotional edge picked up the win in his first singles match since his return ten seconds later. The match lacked the level of violence it needed until the very finish and was far too ambitious in scope and length to to deliver what was promised, leading to a strong level of disappointment. Edge def. Orton via 10 count — Grade: C-

In between matches, Mojo Rawley ran out from the backstage area, trying to escape challengers for the 24/7 championship. It was then that Rob Gronkowski jumped onto the crowd of wrestlers from the Perch. After the dive, Gronkowski def. Rawley via pinfall to win the 24/7 championship

Raw Tag Team Championship — The Street Profits (c) vs. Angel Garza & Austin Theory: The match ran fairly short, as was expected after the length of Orton vs. Edge. Theory had Angelo Dawkins down after a TKO and was looking for the pin when Montez Ford came off the top rope with a frog splash, allowing Dawkins to roll over and score the pinfall. Theory and Garza attacked the champs after the match with Zelina Vega joining in on the beating. At that moment, Bianca Belair made a shocking run-in to make the save, laying a beating on Vega in the process. This was solid enough for a short title match, but the Belair involvement sets up more interesting things in coming weeks. Street Profits def. Garza & Theory via pinfall to retain the titles — Grade: C+

SmackDown Women’s Championship — Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi: Early in the match, all four women tried to take out Tamina, looking to eliminate the powerhouse. Despite strong efforts from Tamina, the women eventually piled on top of her to score the first elimination of the match. Naomi was the next woman out when the numbers game of Bayley and Banks caught up to her. With the final three of Evans, Bayley and Banks, Evans managed to battle through the double-team efforts to eliminate Banks with a Women’s Right as she squabbled with the champ. Banks still help her friend in the end, running back into the match to hit the Backstabber and set Evans up for the pin, allowing Bayley to retain her title. The match was as good as could be expected from the grouping and its placement on the card between the most hyped matches on the card. Bayley def. Evans via pinfall to retain the title — Grade: B-

John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (Firefly FunHouse Match): The match is impossible to do justice in writing. Rather than any sort of wrestling contest — even in the context of night one’s Boneyard Match — it was a wide-awake nightmare for Cena, who Wyatt said would face himself. The two journeyed through various points in wrestling history and eras of Cena’s career. After Wyatt made his point to Cena — that the legend had been a privileged bully who was given endless opportunities in his career while Wyatt had to work for everything he had accomplished — “The Fiend” appeared behind Cena, locking him in a Mandible Claw. The Fiend drove Cena to the mat with the hold and Wyatt’s other character made the three count for the win. As stated previously, there’s no fair way to write about this match in a small blurb, but it was a bizarre and effective way of doing something wholly unique in the history of professional wrestling and bordered on true art more than anything WWE has ever pulled off. The Fiend def. Cena via pinfall counted by Wyatt — Grade: A+

WWE Championship — Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Drew McIntyre: The match was as short and hard-hitting as expected. McIntyre hit an early Claymore for a near fall before Lesnar roared back with an F5. McIntyre kicked out of the first F5 at one. After a second F5, he kicked out at two. And again, after a third F5, Lesnar got no more than a two count. His advocate, Paul Heyman, implored Lesnar to continue hitting the move, saying, “He can’t keep kicking out.” Lesnar lifted McIntyre again. The challenger slid from Lesnar’s shoulders and blasted the champ with a Claymore. After two more, Lesnar was down and out, allowing McIntyre to score the pinfall and become new WWE champion. The moment lacked the punch of a triumph in front of tens of thousands of fans, but any time Lesnar goes down clean feels like a meaningful piece of modern wrestling history and McIntyre now has the opportunity to be “the man” after a lengthy journey to the top. McIntyre def. Brock Lesnar (c) via pinfall to win the title — Grade: B

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