A Weekend at Wrestlemania 40: Story, Finished | Features | LIVING LIFE FEARLESS

A Weekend at Wrestlemania 40: Story, Finished 

There was a bit of grumbling from the assembled commentariat, both online and off, that the first night of Wrestlemania XL had been underwhelming. No one was especially enamored with the long main event, and while there was much praise for Sami Zayn’s win and the two women’s matches, it seemed like lots of people didn’t go home happy on Saturday night. It didn’t help that crowd reaction that it was really, really cold that night. 

Sunday was a very different story. Wrestlemania’s second night was full of memorable moments and had the exact proper ending, one with lots of fan service but also very good wrestling action. 

The main event between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes had it all, from an opening brawling section to cameos by all the biggest stars from 20 years ago to the most satisfying finish possible.

There was speculation that they wanted Stone Cold Steve Austin for the Undertaker’s spot, especially since The Rock and Austin had faced off in the main event the last time Wrestlemania was in Philly, in 1998. But I don’t feel like anyone went home unhappy, unless they were an absolute Roman Reigns superfan. 

My other favorite thing from the night? Seth Rollins’ entrance, with a group of Mummers string band performers:

If you’re not from Philly and you don’t know the Mummers… they’re a group of revelers who perform in a parade each year on New Year’s Day, and also at others time throughout the year, while wearing wild, colorful costumes. They tend to show up in large numbers when you least expect them, such as with Rollins, himself known for his over-the-top costumes. Another Wrestlemania XL participant, Jason Kelce, famously wore a Mummers costume during his Eagles championship parade speech in 2018. 

Per a pal in the Mummers who did not participate, he knew about this weeks ago, but thankfully, the secret remained kept. 

The crowd was clearly more into the matches than they were the first night, with the crowd reacting especially strongly to the match in which Bayley won the women’s title, and to the main event. 

It was not a perfect night. Due to some lighting snafu, a pair of bright lights were pointed in the crowd throughout one of the matches, leading to a chant of “Please turn the light off” to the tune of “Seven Nation Army” (I preferred the “Gatorade” and “We Want Water” chants as Logan Paul promoted his Prime energy drink during his match.) 

I was dismayed to discover that Bubba Ray Dudley is now a dead ringer for Alex Jones. I also realized that anyone below a certain age probably thinks the throwing-guys-through-tables tradition started with Buffalo Bills fans, not in ECW or the Attitude Era. 

Beyond that, there was much talk of a “new era,” including from Stephanie McMahon herself, who appeared at the start of the night and seemed to be acting out the repudiation arc of her father that resistance types have long dreamed about with Ivanka and Donald Trump. But then at the end, Rhodes brought out the Old Era’s longtime righthand man (Bruce Prichard) and son-in-law (Triple-H). 

Still, better late than never, I suppose. 

I appreciated having a chance to attend Wrestlemania for the first time, and it helped me rediscover my youthful love of wrestling. The current structure of wrestling — where every big event is streaming, the entire history is at everyone’s fingertips, all the big matches are on YouTube immediately, every wrestler in history has a podcast and/or a memoir and there’s even a strong rival company — is extremely good for fans. 

You can check out our recap of WWE World here and our recap of Night 1 here.

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