WrestleMania 36 Night One: The American Badass Returns in Thrilling Boneyard Match
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, April 5, 2020
“The American Badass” is back!
The first-of-two nights of WrestleMania 36 took place last night and provided fans with some entertaining matches - considering the circumstances – title changes, and a main event that offered a different viewing experience than what fans are accustomed to seeing.
The main event saw “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles take on The Undertaker in a Boneyard match, which provided fans with a more cinematic main event. The rules for the Boneyard match were like a Buried Alive match, however it was different in that both men fought at an off-sight location instead of the WWE Performance Center.
Styles entered by riding in the back of a hearse as more of a parody, but when Undertaker made his entrance, it wasn’t the “Deadman” who appeared - it was “The American Badass” who rode in on his motorcycle to the familiar gong and Metallica’s “Now That We’re Dead”. Undertaker using past catchphrases and showing up for his WrestleMania match in his “American Badass” persona elevated the matchup as it showed just how personal this rivalry had become and led to a better performance by both competitors.
It was a main event that exceeded all expectations and became a WrestleMania classic. Styles did an excellent job in playing the heel with both his facial expressions and selling and trash talk throughout, which led to a few comedic moments when Undertaker would later get the upper hand.
The setting and production was top notch and the background music and cinematic approach added another element that took this main event to another level. This was highlighted when Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson got involved and the druids appeared to surround Undertaker. Undertaker fighting off the druids gave an action-movie type feel with the American Badass overcoming all the odds and then leaving in true action-hero fashion - riding off on his motorcycle with destruction in the rear view.
Much like a majority of the fans tuning in, I was excited to see Undertaker return to his American Badass persona because it gave a bit of a refresh of sorts to his career and allowed him to be himself and really enjoy the moment.
Going forward, Undertaker should continue as The American Badass as it allows him to wrestle with more of a brawling style, which best suits his limitations in the ring at this stage of his career as opposed to wrestling as the Deadman, where fans are accustomed to seeing more of a technical skillset and match.
Here are some of the reactions to Boneyard match:
My twitter feed exploded.— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) April 5, 2020
Thanks for all the love, folks.. I’m truly honored. Cinematic matches 100% work with the right characters, scenario & fanbase - I envisioned them as a new branch of pro wrestling years ago.
Much like TLC did, The #BROKEN Universe will leave its mark.
wow. i’m so here for AJ rollin up in a coffin, biker taker and what looks like to be a fight scene from a horror movie.— caroline szwed (@caroline_szwed) April 5, 2020
This boneyard match is the best thing I’ve seen on television in a real long time. #WrestleMania Kane has to be coming for the save— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 5, 2020
At @wwe Wrestlemania 25-Shawn Michaels and Undertaker had the best match I’ve ever seen. Tonight. Undertaker puts on a spectacle with AJ Styles that was best ‘out of ring’ fight I’ve ever seen. The G.O.A.T.— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) April 5, 2020
AJ Styles vs Undertaker was the first of two off-sight matches – John Cena and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt will face off in a Firefly Funhouse match on night two and could be just as creative as the Boneyard match.
Full WrestleMania 36 Night One Results:
Cesaro defeated Drew Gulak (pre show)
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross defeated The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane) to become new WWE Women's Tag Team Champions
Elias defeated King Corbin
Becky Lynch defeated Shayna Baszler to retain WWE Raw Women's Championship
Sami Zayn defeated Daniel Bryan to retain WWE Intercontinental Championship
John Morrison defeated Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso to retain WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships
Kevin Owens defeated Seth Rollins
Braun Strowman defeated Goldberg to become new WWE Universal Champion
The Undertaker defeated AJ Styles
Photo Credit: WWE (wwe.com)