The Road to Wrestlemania, Episode Twenty-Four

*This is the twenty-fourth episode in a series, retelling the Road to Wrestlemania 2016. This episode covers part one of Wrestlemania 32, originally televised April 3, 2016.

Unlike the televised version of Wrestlemania, this rebooking does not have a Pre-Show. The best way to undermine a rivalry is to prioritise advertisement and promotion over a match.

Match #1: Chris Jericho vs The Miz

In the opening match of Wrestlemania 32, Chris Jericho faces off against The Miz. While no stipulations are set on the match, an unspoken understanding is clear: the winner of this match is truly the voice of the WWE.

The early goings of the match are fairly even, as more time is spent taunting their opponent than wrestling, with a few rough shots thrown in. Miz uses Jericho’s show boating to loosen the straps of the turnbuckle pads, but the referee catches him doing it; though while the referee is fixing them, Miz hits Jericho with a microphone.

Miz uses the ropes to tie Jericho up, slapping him repeatedly and locking in the Figure Four Leg Lock, despite having to break it quickly because of the ropes. He retreats to the other side of the ring, taunting the crowd while Jericho throws a minor tantrum out of frustration as he stalks around the ring.

As the pace picks up, Jericho starts to reach into his bag of tricks, but an attempted Lionsault is reversed, and Jericho finds himself tied up in another Figure Four Leg Lock. He makes it to the ropes, barely, but Miz stays on him, dragging him back into the centre of the ring and dropping a knee across his chest.

Miz paces around the ring, as if already victorious; he waits almost expectantly for Jericho to rise, before grabbing him for the Skull Crushing Finale.

But Jericho reverses it into an Armbar (No. 4), and with nowhere to go, Miz is forced to tap out.

Match #2: Brie Bella and Natalya vs Naomi and Tamina

Brie Bella starts the match all guns blazing, making it clear that, despite rumours that she may be retiring after this match, she has a lot left to give the WWE Universe. But she is facing the dominant stable of the Women’s Division, and Naomi and Tamina have far more experience working as a tag team.

They pick apart Natalya and Brie, limiting their tag opportunities and keeping the pace of the match slow and methodical. Naomi in particular shows a particularly aggressive and grounded mentality, targeting the ankles and knees of both opponents, to remove their strongest moves from the match.

A missed Big Boot from Tamina offers a little respite, but Brie is unable to take advantage, as Naomi pulls Natalya from the ring apron in order to prevent the tag.

Tamina looks to put Brie away, but she reverses a Superkick, drawing on the fans and going into Brie Mode. Tamina scrambles to make a tag, and Naomi is left on the receiving end of a series of vicious kicks. Natalya spears Tamina into the barricade, and Brie hits a Bella Buster.

But Naomi kicks out, and Tamina recovers in time to take Natalya out before she can climb back into the ring, driving her into the ring post.

Naomi connects with a suplex, and as Brie Bella scrambles to the bottom rope, Tamina Superkicks her in the head. After that, Naomi drags her back into the centre of the ring, locking in a Bully Choke submission for the victory.

Match #3: Bo Dallas and Heath Slater vs Alberto Del Rio and Rusev

The League of Nations and the Social Outcasts stand across from each other in the ring, and for the barest of moments, it appears as if any semblance of a match will break down into a brawl. But Sheamus shakes his head dismissively, and steps out of the ring, followed cautiously by Curtis Axel and Adam Rose.

Once the match starts, Heath Slater and Bo Dallas trade opportunities to go one on one with Alberto Del Rio, doing everything they can to keep Rusev out of the match.

It lasts about three minutes.

When the Bulgarian Brute tags himself in, he bull rushes his opponents, driving both Outcasts from the ring to the floor. Taking the fight outside, Rusev forces the referee to threaten disqualification, as the two sides all but clash at ringside, with Sheamus prevented from attacking Bo Dallas only by a blindside attack from Curtis Axel, who eats a Brogue Kick as a result.

Rusev grabs Adam Rose from behind, throwing him over the announce table, but turns straight into a Big Boot from Heath Slater.

Which rocks the Bulgarian, but doesn’t knock him down.

Instead, the two trade blows, before Rusev grabs Slater and hoists him up on his shoulders.

Bo Dallas kicks out Rusev’s knee, pulling Slater away and retreating back into the ring.

The League circles the ring, with Bo Dallas and Heath Slater standing back to back in the centre of the ring. The referee threatens to count out the League, who all step up onto the ring apron at the same time.

The referee’s attention moves to the ineligible Sheamus, distracting him from the legal competitors. Curtis Axel takes advantage, pulling Alberto Del Rio from the ring, falling to the floor to avoid clothesline, and allowing Del Rio to walk straight into a Big Boot from a now recovered Adam Rose.

Dallas and Slater glance at each other, and charge Rusev together, beating him back into his corner and overpowering him with sheer numbers advantage. A double suplex gives them a brief moment to celebrate, but Rusev gets back to his feet, and another Big Boot from Heath Slater does little but rattle him.

Alberto Del Rio recovers from the sneak attack, climbing back up onto the ring, frustration and anger in his face. Sheamus chases down Curtis Axel, and the three wrestlers at ringside brawl into the crowd. Del Rio tags himself in, intent on causing some serious damage for the cheap shot. Rusev, however, doesn’t realise he has been tagged out, crushing Heath Slater with a clothesline and locking in the Accolade.

But the referee won’t count, as he is no longer legal. Rusev yells at Del Rio, who shoves past him, and walks straight into a Exploder Suplex from Bo Dallas.

Slater uses the referee to pull himself up, distracting him long enough to allow Curtis Axel and Adam Rose to pull Rusev from the ring. Sheamus, chasing after them from where they left him in the crowd, rushes Rose, going for another Brogue Kick, only for Axel to shove Rose out of the way. He takes a Superkick from Rusev as a result, but causes Sheamus’ Brogue Kick to hit Rusev instead.

With Rusev taken out, Slater pulls Rusev to his feet, and with Bo Dallas hit a Double Dragon Sleeper DDT. A three count later, and the Social Outcasts are victorious.

Summary

Three solid matches to start the show, building feuds and ending others. The League of Nations has collapsed, Naomi and Tamina continue to dominate the Women’s Division, and Chris Jericho is the self appointed Voice of the WWE.

In the next episode. Emma and Paige will see who is willing to tap out, the tag team titles will be defended, and seven wrestlers will look to climb a ladder and take the United States Championship for themselves.

Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Episode Card
Original Schedule Revised Schedule
Kalisto def. Ryback Chris Jericho def. The Miz
Total Divas def. BAD and Blonde Naomi and Tamina def. Brie Bella and Natalya
The Usos def. The Dudley Boyz Bo Dallas and Heath Slater def. Alberto Del Rio and Rusev