WWE WrestleMania 40 Night 2: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s annual review of WWE WrestleMania, the show where sometimes — not all the time, but sometimes — childhood dreams come true. If it does nothing else, WrestleMania is supposed to make you feel something, and the WINC staff is here to tell you how we felt on Sunday night; Night 2, the grand finale. The end of the event. The end of the reign. The end of the story.


Obviously there is no way we are going to talk about everything that happened on Sunday — less so than usual, as we're sure you'd expect. If you just want to know what happened in Philadelphia in front of more than 70,000 fans, check out our WrestleMania results page. If you want to know how we feel about it — what made us raise our arms in triumphant joy; what made us scream in rage — this is the place to be. The Bloodline has finally fallen, Cody Rhodes is finally champion, and we want to talk about three things we hated and three things we loved from Night 2 of WWE WrestleMania 40.

Hated: Drew McIntyre loses his moment

I should start this off by saying I really like Damian Priest and I'm glad he had a successful cash-in and didn't squander the Money in the Bank briefcase, but I was very much looking forward to Drew McIntyre holding the World Heavyweight Championship in front of fans. After carrying the company (albeit as a babyface) throughout the pandemic and in the Thunderdome era, I really thought he deserved it, heel character or not. I hate the fact that he's still not getting that, and I hate the fact it's CM Punk who cost him that title. When he was on the announce desk and in Punk's face following his win, I knew something bad was going to happen. I almost felt like putting my hands in front of my eyes and watching through my fingers; I knew it was going to be that nasty. I'll also be the first person to tell you I am not a Punk fan in the slightest, so him being on commentary for this match made me roll my eyes, because I knew he was going to get involved somehow.


Punk did McIntyre dirty; of course, that's the story moving forward, and once Punk gets healthy — if Punk gets and stays healthy — that's going to be a great story moving forward, but for now, I can't stand it. WWE continues to do this story between these two men when Punk really can't do too terribly much. He probably tore something else beating McIntyre down Sunday night. But in all seriousness, the story not even being able to be told completely, yet still going, is pretty irksome to me. McIntyre was angry with Seth Rollins for focusing on The Bloodline, but was focused more on Punk himself throughout this feud.

I'm excited for Priest's title reign because WWE needs a heel champion now that Cody Rhodes has finished his own story, but I hate that it had to come at the hands of McIntyre. He could have been that heel champion, and a deserving one at that. If anything, at least his character has a reason to have more of a chip on his shoulder. And I really hope this loss doesn't mean that McIntyre isn't re-signing with the company, because losing the "Scottish Warrior" in WWE would be a shame.


Written by Daisy Ruth

Hated: The sentient Prime Bottle reminds me I'm aging

For the second year in a row, Logan Paul brought a living, dancing bottle of his Prime Hydration Drink. Last year, the person in the Prime bottle outfit was influencer and professional boxer KSI. This year the bottle of Prime was played by YouTuber and rapper IShowSpeed.


I have no idea who these two gentlemen are. They seem like nice young men. IShowSpeed has a filthy mouth but I've never held that against someone. I also have very little experience with Prime. I've tried it but it is simply not what I look for in a drink. For the second year in a row, a bottle of a drink that I do not understand was played by a celebrity I do not recognize. It is quite simply enough to drive one to those experimental anti-aging therapies that one smooth-faced billionaire is trying out.

I know this sounds like that age-old tale of a person who used to be young discovering that they're getting old, and it is partly that, but I have a pretty simple request: If you're gonna rub my face in the fact that I'm getting old, at least get creative about it. I get it; some young whippersnapper with a following on YouTube is gonna pop out of the chemical drink mascot suit and live out their WrestleMania fantasy for a moment — been there, done that. I am not asking for the Prime mascot to turn into some kind of RJ City/Toni Storm riff on classic movies and old lingo, either. I just want something different. Something fresh. It's WrestleMania season; give me something special, something I haven't seen before. I don't care if I never recognize another cameo on WWE television again — that isn't the point, I just want the people I don't recognize revealed in more and more creative ways, so I at least have something to chuckle at while the kids cheer for some loud-mouthed video game player or SoundCloud rapper.


Written by Ross Berman

Loved: Bayley and IYO SKY bring King's Road to the Grandest Stage of Them All

There were calls for Bayley and IYO SKY's contest for the WWE Women's Championship to be the main event of WrestleMania Night 1, and both performers undoubtedly showed why tonight. The very question of whether or not they were considered to be a closing act or not hinges on how truly valued both are for being immense entertainers and wrestlers, as both champion and challenger left it all in the ring.


The Women's Royal Rumble Winner's crowning moment was complete with a new entrance theme and attire as Bayley, made an appearance very much in the style of Kenny Omega or Kazuchika Okada entering Wrestle Kingdom. And it wasn't just thematic inspiration that appeared to be taken from Japanese wrestling — as can probably be expected with Bayley and SKY in the ring, their match was a story of sheer workrate and the art of thinking three steps ahead. Bayley worked the underdog role withstanding malicious offense from Sky, cut between moments of Bayley reminding her former ward of what she had destroyed, in what ultimately proved to be a King's Road match brought to the grand stage of WrestleMania. Bayley relied on powerful re-entries into the bout, proving decisive as she went full Toshiaki Kawada by hitting a stiff lariat followed by a Saito suplex, top-rope elbow drop, and finally a Rose Plant to secure the pinfall.


It was great to see yet another women's title bout at WrestleMania stake the case for better representation in the main event picture of WWE's Super Bowl. To do it in a way that blows a kiss to one of wrestling's most historic tenets was just the icing on the cake.

Written by Max Everett

Hated: Go home, Bikertaker, we're finishing stories here!

The "Bloodline Rules" under which Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns competed allowed for all kinds of run-ins on Sunday. Reigns wasn't the only one with help though, as The Bloodline was fought off by a group of WWE stars and legends, most of whom had been embroiled in the years-long Bloodline saga. One note, however, rang flat: The Undertaker appearing in a hoodie and skull cap to chokeslam The Rock.


Jey Uso neutralized Jimmy Uso — these two have history together, as Jey just beat Jimmy the previous night on Bight 1 of WrestleMania (and, you know, they're twins). John Cena neutralized Solo Sikoa — these two have history, as Sikoa delivered Cena's most recent WWE loss to him late last year, giving Cena a savage beating. The Rock neutralized John Cena — these two history, two consecutive 'Mania main events of their own, this makes sense.

Then Undertaker showed up.

It could have made sense. He has WrestleMania history with Roman Reigns, after all. But he didn't attack Reigns. Instead he chokeslammed The Rock, paying homage to ... let me check my notes ... WWE King of The Ring 1999? We all remeber that King of The Ring, right? I'm pretty sure Billy Gunn won that tournament. The fact that Undertaker looked like he was dressed to eat at Arby's just added to the hilariously wrong note the moment hit. It felt like a spot that was either meant for The Rock's old rival Steve Austin (who likely said no) or Reigns and Rock's longtime rival Brock Lesnar (who was all-but-named in Janel Grant's lawsuit against WWE for sex trafficking) so WWE was left to grab the most recognizable legend they could find.


Undertaker is very lucky that nothing matters when people are as invested in a story as they are with Cody's, as his lazy appearance will soon be forgotten. He's lucky that WWE fans have been Pavlovianly conditioned to cheer for his gong, as he will always get the same loud pop no matter how many times Mark Calaway appears instead of The Undertaker. Would it have killed him to hit up Rhea Ripley for some eyeliner?

Written by Ross Berman

Loved: Ten years later, Roman Reigns' vengeance costs him everything

It turned out that The Bloodline would fall in Sunday night's "Bloodline rules" match between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed Universal Championship at WrestleMania. But there was far more to that fall than Cody Rhodes' story. Reigns dominated "The American Nightmare" much in the same way he did last year at WrestleMania 39, save for some typical Cody comebacks that would inevitably lead to nearfalls. As we've learned over the past 1,316 days, it would take far more than conventional means to keep Reigns down for the count.


Following the parallels that have been drawn between The Bloodline-Cody Rhodes saga and the "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" epics, Rhodes came prepared with his own backup troupe to even the odds. Ghosts of WrestleManias past returned to haunt Reigns, including John Cena and The Undertaker, as well as those who have long served as allies to Rhodes: chief among them, Seth Rollins. Fresh off his own title loss earlier in the night, Rollins emerged after the Lincoln Financial Field was filled with the familiar music of The Shield, and Rollins appeared wearing his old Shield gear, his hair half-dyed blonde. Alas, of all the cameos in that main event, it was his former fellow hound of justice that Reigns had telegraphed, delivering a Spear to remove Rollins from the equation — or so it seemed.


What happened next has to be one of the greatest pieces of long-term storytelling WWE, if not wrestling overall, has ever produced. Reigns, given a choice of whether to strike Rhodes with a steel chair to surely retain his title, suddenly became enamored instead with striking Rollins, who was struggling to his feet. Reigns saw the opportunity to undo the injustice of 2014, when Rollins drove a chair through the heart of The Shield, splintering what was then considered the most dominant stable of the modern era. Reigns got his revenge, but it ultimately cost him everything he had built over the past four years. He's tried to bury his past ever since returning as the "Head of the Table," but he has never truly been able to shake it; his past followed him into his Universal title bout against Rollins at Royal Rumble 2022, where his anger cost him the win, but not the title. He denied Rollins his due rematch out of sheer malice and spite for his former brother, and in doing so drove him to Rhodes' side. Ultimately, Rollins cost Roman Reigns everything, again, 10 years after he had done it for the first time. And the wheel turns again.

Written by Max Everett

Loved: A righteous celebration

There's an inherent hokiness to professional wrestling that we just can't ignore but the best part of this art is when storyline meets reality and that's just what we saw after Cody Rhodes' win over Roman Reigns to capture the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship, with legends, family, office, and contemporaries hitting the ring to celebrate the new champion finally "finishing his story."


From LA Knight to Sami Zayn, Jey Uso to Randy Orton, and Kevin Owens to John Cena, WWE dignitaries soaked in a changing of the guard that aligns with what many have called "The Paul Levesque Era" as the company forges into the future. Beyond that, family members, including Cody's wife Brandi, his mother, sister, father-in-law, and more, plus friends like Brodie Lee, Jr. (aka Negative 1) and many more brought an element of true emotion to a profession that fails when it lacks as much.

The only downside, other than the fact that Dusty Rhodes has long since moved on to the squared circle in the sky, was that his brother Dustin wasn't able to participate in any way, but of course, that is surely not the case behind the scenes. Cody's emotions at the press conference after the fact were most appreciated and respected. I love when people show how they truly feel and gain fulfillment from that which they pour their heart and soul into, sometimes at the expense of family, friends, and respite. This is well-earned and will be a wonderful era to move into.


With that, all due respect and kudos to Roman Reigns, who carried the flag for this company better than almost any other in the history of the business. I'm sure that even "The Tribal Chief" would admit that things are in good hands with "The American Nightmare."

Written by Jon Jordan