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Sports Update: No Sports? Let's Watch Wrasslin'! (4/14/20) By: Garrett Davenport

April 4 th and 5th was WWE’s 36 th annual WrestleMania event, but it was unlike any other that preceded it due to COVID-19. The year prior, the WWE set an attendance record at MetLife Stadium with over 82,000 people in attendance. This year, WrestleMania was hosted in a small facility in Orlando, Florida with no one in the stands. Still, WWE was able to put on a big event spectacle in this unprecedented situation. The event was two nights long and contained many moments that erupted social media. Here are some highlights from the event and why you should be paying attention to sports entertainment. 1.) The Triple Threat Ladder Math John Morrison came up victorious over Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso in a high octane and entertaining ladder match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. This match had no dull moments and showed off the athleticism of these extraordinary individuals. There were many insane stunts that all of these competitors pulled off, but some notable moments were: Morrison connecting with a corkscrew moonsault on a ladder on top of Uso, Kingston throwing a ladder at Uso while running across the barricade, Morrison tight-roping the ring ropes and delivering a Spanish Fly to Kingston, and Kingston delivering a dropkick to Morrison off the top of a ladder. The finish itself was crazy too, as all three men unhooked the title holder. However, Morrison unclipped the belts as he was falling off the ladder, and he, along with the titles, went falling onto a ladder; which won him the match 2.) NXT Women’s Championship Match Charlotte Flair (daughter of the great Ric Flair) beat Rhea Ripley in this match that was technical and told a great story of present vs. future. Charlotte is considered one of the greatest female wrestlers in the industry today (some might say ever). Ripley is a bright up and comer who drew a lot of comparisons to Flair, but wanted to make her own name. The match itself was good and showed off the skill of each woman. Charlotte targeted Ripley’s left knee and she was unable to overcome, tapping out to the figure-eight leglock (a variation of Ric’s figure-four). 3.) Drew McIntyre’s Redemption Story Who doesn’t love a good redemption story? Back in 2009, McIntyre was labeled the “chosen one” by Vince McMahon himself. However, he fell from grace and fell hard. A once highly touted prospect became a joke character, losing every match, playing air guitar in an imaginary band, and eventually getting released from the company. Fast forward 11 years, he beats Brock Lesnar (yes, THAT Brock Lesnar) in under two and a half minutes for the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania. He finally lived up to the expectations that were placed on him. 4.) Edge’s WrestleMania Return Match You remember Edge? The guy you hated when you watched wrestling as a kid? Well, in 2012 he had to retire due to neck injuries. After nine long years, Edge was cleared for in ring competition and took on Randy Orton, another guy you probably hated, in a Last Man Standing Match. In the weeks leading up to the match, Orton delivered a con-chair-to (hitting Edge in the head with a chair while he is head is laying on another chair) leaving him out of action for a while, and also giving an RKO to his wife Beth Phoenix. In the match, these guys absolutely beat the crap out of each other all around the facility. Orton delivered a DDT to Edge on a truck bed, Edge elbowed Orton off a ladder through a table, Orton gave Edge an RKO on the top of a production truck and Edge responded with a spear to Orton. Edge finished off Orton by delivering a con-chair-to to win the match. 5.) The Boneyard Match The Undertaker defeated A.J. Styles in the boneyard match (which is basically the PG version of a buried alive match). The special thing about this match though is the cinematic style in which it was produced. It didn’t take place inside a traditional wrestling ring, but in backwoods barnyard of some sorts. There wasn’t really any “wrestling” but more of a fight that you would see in a TV show, and it was very good. It was fun to watch and told a great story that Undertaker’s old age isn’t a factor when it comes to being a bad***. Wrestling is made to be fun, entertaining and tell great stories. WrestleMania is when all those stories conclude, and the WWE delivered. Both nights had some high’s and some low’s, but all in all it was a great event that left many fans happy. If you’re not watching the content because it is “fake” then you are missing out on some great stuff. While you are sitting at home waiting for the coronavirus to subside, tune in to some WWE shows and let its storytelling take you away from reality.

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