WrestleMania XL

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WrestleMania XL
Promotional poster featuring Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes
PromotionWWE
Brand(s)
DateApril 6–7, 2024
CityPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
VenueLincoln Financial Field
Attendance
  • Night 1: 72,543[1]
  • Night 2: 72,755[2]
  • Combined: 145,298
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WrestleMania XL was a 2024 professional wrestling event produced by WWE. It was the 40th annual WrestleMania and took place as a two-night event on April 6 and 7, 2024, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The event aired via pay-per-view (PPV) and livestreaming and featured wrestlers from the promotion's Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. This was the second WrestleMania to be held in both the city of Philadelphia and state of Pennsylvania, after WrestleMania XV in 1999.

The card comprised a total of 14 matches, with seven on each night. In the main event for Night 1, The Bloodline (The Rock and Roman Reigns) defeated Cody Rhodes and Seth "Freakin" Rollins in a tag team match, which made the stipulation of the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match on Night 2 a Bloodline Rules match. In other prominent matches, Sami Zayn defeated Gunther to win Raw's Intercontinental Championship, ending the latter's record-setting reign at 666 days, and in the opening bout, Rhea Ripley defeated Becky Lynch to retain Raw's Women's World Championship.

In the main event for Night 2, Cody Rhodes defeated Roman Reigns in a Bloodline Rules match to win SmackDown's Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, ending the latter's world championship reign at 1,316 days.[a] In other prominent matches, Bayley defeated Iyo Sky to win SmackDown's WWE Women's Championship, Logan Paul defeated Randy Orton and Kevin Owens in a triple threat match to retain SmackDown's United States Championship, and in the opening bout, Drew McIntyre defeated Seth "Freakin" Rollins to win Raw's World Heavyweight Championship, after which, Damian Priest cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated McIntyre to win the title.

This was the first WrestleMania held after WWE merged with the Endeavor subsidiary Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in September 2023, under the banner of TKO Group Holdings. It was the first WrestleMania under TKO and the first not directly under McMahon family control. It was also the final WrestleMania to livestream on the standalone WWE Network, which is set to close in any markets where the service is still available in January 2025, with WWE content moving to Netflix.

The event received highly positive reviews, with Night 2 being singled out for critical acclaim. Praise was given to all seven championship matches, with the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match garnering ubiquitous acclaim for its storytelling and satisfying conclusion.

Production

Background

The event was held at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

WrestleMania is WWE's flagship pay-per-view (PPV) and livestreaming event, having first been held in 1985. It was the company's first PPV produced and was also WWE's first major event available via livestreaming when the company launched the WWE Network in February 2014. It is the longest-running professional wrestling event in history and is held annually between mid-March to mid-April, featuring wrestlers from WWE's Raw and SmackDown brand divisions.[3] Along with Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and Money in the Bank, it is one of the company's five biggest events of the year, referred to as the "Big Five".[4][5][6] WrestleMania was ranked the sixth-most valuable sports brand in the world by Forbes,[7] and has been described as the Super Bowl of sports entertainment.[8] Much like the Super Bowl, cities bid for the right to host WrestleMania.[9] The official theme song for the event was "Gasoline" by The Weeknd, which marked the fifth consecutive year that a Weeknd song was used for WrestleMania.[10]

On July 27, 2022, it was announced that Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania would host WrestleMania 40 on April 6 and 7, 2024.[6] Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney welcomed WWE to the city, noting the economic boost from visiting fans.[11] The event's logo was revealed on October 8, 2022, during the Extreme Rules Kickoff pre-show at the nearby Wells Fargo Center. Themed after the Liberty Bell and in the colors of the Philadelphia Eagles, it incorporated Roman numerals for the first time since WrestleMania XXX in 2014, thus officially stylizing the title as WrestleMania XL.[12][13] Tickets for the event went on sale on August 18, 2023.[14] Over 90,000 tickets were sold on the first day for both nights combined, breaking WWE's record set by the prior year's WrestleMania.[15]

Lincoln Financial Field set up for WrestleMania XL.

From January 2023, there had been speculation that WWE had been placed up for sale.[16] Hours before WrestleMania 39 Night 2 began, CNBC reported via multiple sources that a deal between WWE and Endeavor, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) via Zuffa, was imminent. The deal involved a merger of WWE with the UFC into a new publicly traded company, with Endeavor holding a 51% stake.[17] The sale was confirmed the next day on April 3, 2023,[18] and was finalized on September 12, with WWE merging with the UFC to become divisions of TKO Group Holdings. WrestleMania XL was in turn the first WrestleMania held in which WWE was not owned and controlled by the McMahon family, and subsequently the first WrestleMania under TKO.[19]

Broadcast outlets

WrestleMania XL was broadcast live on traditional pay-per-view worldwide. Additionally, it was available to livestream on Peacock in the United States, Disney+ Hotstar in Indonesia, Disney+ in the Philippines, Binge in Australia, Abema in Japan, SonyLIV in India, and the WWE Network in all other countries.

Additionally, the event streamed live on Netflix in New Zealand, as a technical stress test for when the promotion's new contract with Netflix comes into effect in January 2025.[20] As a result of said contract, all WWE Network content will move to Netflix in all countries where the former is still available as a standalone service, making WrestleMania XL the final WrestleMania event to livestream on the WWE Network.[21]

Other WrestleMania week events

As part of the WrestleMania festivities, WWE held a number of events throughout the week. WWE Hall of Famer The Undertaker presented his 1 deadMAN Show on Thursday, April 4 at The Fillmore Philadelphia.[22] From that same day through April 8 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, there was a fan convention called WWE World at WrestleMania. In partnership with Fanatics Events, the five-day event included interview panel sessions with WWE wrestlers, a WWE 2K24 gaming tournament, live podcast recordings, meet-and-greets with wrestlers, and a large merchandise store with various memorabilia honoring WrestleMania's 40-year history.[23] WWE World replaced the WrestleMania Fan Axxess event that had been held at each year's WrestleMania prior to WrestleMania 36 in 2020.[24] WWE commentator Pat McAfee also hosted a live edition of his eponymous ESPN afternoon show at WWE World on Friday, April 5.[25]

The night before WrestleMania XL on April 5, WWE kicked off WrestleMania Weekend with a special "WrestleMania Edition" of Friday Night SmackDown, which featured the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, won by Bronson Reed [b].[26] Immediately after SmackDown, the 2024 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony commenced. The afternoon of WrestleMania Saturday, WWE's NXT brand held its annual WrestleMania Week event, Stand & Deliver. WrestleMania Week concluded with the post-WrestleMania edition of Monday Night Raw on April 8. These events were held live at the nearby Wells Fargo Center.[27]

Between all of the WrestleMania Weekend events (SmackDown/HOF induction ceremony, Stand & Deliver, both nights of WrestleMania XL, and Raw), WWE announced a grand total attendance of 201,924.[28]

Celebrities

As is tradition at WrestleMania, celebrities from outside of wrestling participated at the event in various capacities, such as rapper and Philadelphia native Meek Mill, who narrated the cold open for the event on both nights.[29]

On Night 1, Grammy Award winning singer Coco Jones opened the show by performing "The Star-Spangled Banner".[30] Grammy winning rapper Lil Wayne debuted his latest single during the event.[31] Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson were involved in the Rey Mysterio and Andrade vs. Santos Escobar and "Dirty" Dominik Mysterio tag team match, aiding Rey and Andrade.

On Night 2, Country music duo The War and Treaty performed "God Bless America" to open the show. WWE Hall of Famer and rapper Snoop Dogg was on commentary for the Philadelphia Street Fight, and returned later alongside the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders to announce the evening's attendance. Rapper and YouTuber IShowSpeed accompanied Logan Paul to the ring for his WWE United States Championship defense (wearing a Prime bottle costume at the start and then revealing himself while the match was in progress).

Storylines

The event included 14 matches, split evenly between both nights, that resulted from scripted storylines. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw and SmackDown brands,[32][33] while storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown.[34]

Main event matches

Cody Rhodes (left) and Seth "Freakin" Rollins (right) wrestled on both nights of WrestleMania XL. On Night 1, they teamed to face The Bloodline (The Rock and Roman Reigns) in a tag team match. On Night 2, Rhodes faced Reigns for SmackDown's Undisputed WWE Universal Championship and Rollins defended Raw's World Heavyweight Championship against Drew McIntyre.

After Cody Rhodes made his return to WWE at WrestleMania 38 in April 2022, he declared he would finish his story by winning the WWE Championship, a title his father Dusty Rhodes never held.[35] Also at WrestleMania 38, Roman Reigns became the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion by retaining the WWE Universal Championship and winning the WWE Championship.[36] Rhodes won the 2023 Royal Rumble match but failed to defeat Reigns for the undisputed title at WrestleMania 39.[37] Prior to the Royal Rumble at Raw: Day 1 on January 1, The Rock made a surprise appearance and seemingly called out Reigns by asking if he should sit at the "head of the table", a reference to their relationship through the Anoaʻi family as for over three years, Reigns had claimed he was the Head of the Table and Tribal Chief of The Bloodline, a faction of wrestlers from the family that includes Reigns and his cousins Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa, managed by Paul Heyman.[38]

Rhodes again won the Royal Rumble match in 2024.[39] With the introduction of the World Heavyweight Championship after WrestleMania 39,[40] Rhodes received a choice of which world title to challenge for at WrestleMania XL.[39] During the Royal Rumble post-event press conference, Rhodes stated that he wanted to face Reigns again for SmackDown's Undisputed WWE Universal Championship,[41] but on the January 29 episode of Raw, Seth "Freakin" Rollins argued that Rhodes should instead challenge him for Raw's World Heavyweight Championship.[42] On that week's SmackDown, Rhodes announced that he would not challenge Reigns at WrestleMania and said that one of the individuals he took counsel from in making his decision knew Reigns very well. The Rock then came out and stared down Reigns, with the clear implication that he would be Reign's WrestleMania opponent instead.[43] This decision drew intense fan backlash with the hashtag #WeWantCody trending on social media worldwide, which caused WWE to legitimately pivot their story plans.[44]

On Night 1 of WrestleMania XL, The Rock wrestled his first match since WrestleMania 32 in 2016.

A WrestleMania XL Kickoff media event was held on February 8 where Reigns and The Rock declared that they would face each other for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XL. However, Rhodes appeared and asserted that since he won the Royal Rumble, he earned the right to decide the main event and announced that he had reversed his decision and would challenge Reigns for the title at WrestleMania. After bringing up each other's families, Rock claimed that he and Rhodes now had issues and he slapped Rhodes in the face, turning heel for the first time since 2003. In the ensuing brawl, Rollins backed Rhodes.[45]

WrestleMania XL marked Roman Reigns' fourth consecutive defense of the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania, and his second as Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. In main eventing both nights, Reigns set the record for most WrestleMania main event matches (nine).

On the following SmackDown, WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H affirmed that the main event of WrestleMania XL Night 2 would be Reigns defending the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Rhodes.[46] On the February 12 episode of Raw, Rhodes claimed that it was because of the fans that he reversed his decision and decided to challenge Reigns. Rollins interrupted and stated that he understood Rhodes's decision and offered to be his backup due to Reigns always having his family in his corner.[47] In response on that week's SmackDown, The Rock officially joined The Bloodline and vowed that he would do everything in his power to ensure Rhodes did not finish his story.[48]

At Elimination Chamber: Perth on February 24, Rhodes challenged Rock to a one-on-one match at any time, and Rollins again asserted that he would be in Rhodes's corner in facing The Bloodline.[49] On the following SmackDown, Rock rejected Rhodes's challenge and instead offered a counter: a tag team match featuring Rhodes and Rollins against Rock and Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania XL Night 1 with an added stipulation that if Rhodes and Rollins won, then The Bloodline would be barred from ringside during the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match on Night 2, however, if Rock and Reigns won, then the championship match would be contested under The Bloodline's rules in which anything goes.[50] Rhodes and Rollins appeared on the next week's episode where they accepted the challenge.[51]

Undercard matches

Bayley (left) challenged Damage CTRL member Iyo Sky (right) for SmackDown's WWE Women's Championship on Night 2.

At SummerSlam in July 2022, Bayley made her return from injury alongside Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky with the trio dubbing themselves Damage CTRL.[52] Kairi Sane, who returned to WWE in November 2023 and who had previous issues with Bayley before her departure, forgave Bayley and joined with Damage CTRL, followed by Asuka joining the group, subsequently reuniting The Kabuki Warriors in the process.[53] The group would attain success on SmackDown, including multiple WWE Women's Tag Team Championship reigns, as well as Sky winning the WWE Women's Championship. Bayley then won the 2024 women's Royal Rumble match, thus earning a women's championship match of her choice at WrestleMania XL.[39] Bayley had previously said she would be going after Raw's women's championship so that Damage CTRL would hold all the women's titles of Raw and SmackDown;[54] however, on the February 2 episode of SmackDown, after Bayley overheard Sky, Asuka, and Sane talking behind her back, Bayley revealed she understood Japanese and how they made fun of her. Bayley was then kicked out of Damage CTRL after Asuka and Sane attacked her, turning face for the first time since 2019. After fighting off the rest of Damage CTRL, Bayley decided that she would challenge Sky for the WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania XL.[43] Kai was absent when Sky, Asuka, and Sane turned on Bayley and although she seemingly sided with Bayley the next week,[46] Kai also turned on her on the March 1 episode.[50] On April 1, the WWE Women's Championship match was confirmed for Night 2.[55]

Concurrent to their feud with Bayley, Damage CTRL (Iyo Sky, Dakota Kai, Asuka, and Kairi Sane) were also feuding with Naomi and Bianca Belair. On the March 29 episode of SmackDown, following Belair's win over Kai, Damage CTRL engaged in a beatdown of Belair and Naomi. Jade Cargill, who was making her debut as an official roster member of the brand that night, made the save after weeks of teasing a feud with the faction. Later, it was announced that Cargill, Naomi, and Belair would face Damage CTRL (Kai, Asuka, and Sane) in a six-woman tag team match at WrestleMania XL Night 1.[56][55]

As a result of both the men's and women's Royal Rumble match winners choosing to challenge for SmackDown's respective men's and women's world championships at WrestleMania XL, the challengers for Raw's respective men's and women's world championships at the event were decided by Elimination Chamber matches at Elimination Chamber: Perth.[57][46] Raw's Becky Lynch won the women's eponymous match to face Rhea Ripley for the Women's World Championship, while Raw's Drew McIntyre won the men's to face Seth "Freakin" Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship.[49] The Women's World Championship match was scheduled for Night 1,[55] with the World Heavyweight Championship match set for Night 2.[58] On the March 25 episode of Raw, it was announced that CM Punk, who had issues with both Rollins and McIntyre but had gotten legitimately injured at the Royal Rumble, would serve as a special guest commentator for the World Heavyweight Championship match.[59]

After several wrestlers declared their intentions to challenge Gunther for Raw's Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania XL, Raw General Manager Adam Pearce announced that a gauntlet match would be held on the March 11 episode of Raw with the winner facing Gunther for the title at WrestleMania.[60] The gauntlet match was won by Sami Zayn,[61] and the Intercontinental Championship match was later confirmed for Night 1.[55]

On the March 11 episode of Raw, Raw General Manager Adam Pearce and SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis announced that at WrestleMania XL, The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor and Damian Priest) would defend the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship in a Six-Pack Tag Team Ladder match. Qualifying matches for the five vacant spots—three teams from Raw and two from SmackDown—occurred over the subsequent episodes of Raw and SmackDown.[61] The three teams from Raw were determined by qualifier matches on the March 18 episode of Raw, which were won by #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa), The Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth), and The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods).[62] The two teams from SmackDown were determined by two tournament brackets, which were won by A-Town Down Under (Austin Theory and Grayson Waller) and New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate) on the March 29 episode of SmackDown.[56] On April 1, the match was confirmed for Night 1,[55] and it was also clarified that both sets of titles under the Undisputed Championship banner (the Raw and SmackDown tag titles) had to be retrieved for the match to end.[63]

On the December 15, 2023, episode of SmackDown, AJ Styles made a return from injury and helped LA Knight in fending off The Bloodline, but then turned on Knight and attacked him with a steel chair.[64] Styles later explained that he attacked Knight for taking his spot in a tag team match at Fastlane in October 2023, saying he "stepped over his dead body" to get ahead.[65] Both then participated in a fatal four-way match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble in January 2024, but were unsuccessful.[39] Knight then qualified for the men's Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber: Perth the following month, but Styles did not. During the match itself, Styles snuck into the chamber and attacked Knight with a steel chair, causing Knight to be eliminated.[49] After more weeks of feuding, Knight challenged Styles to a match at WrestleMania XL and Styles accepted,[66] which was later confirmed for Night 2.[55]

Brothers Jimmy Uso (left) and Jey (right) faced each other on the Night 1 undercard.

Prior to the summer of 2023, The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) were a unit of their family's stable, The Bloodline, on SmackDown. However, due to the manipulations of its leader, Roman Reigns, The Usos left the group which eventually led to a "Bloodline Civil War" tag team match at Money in the Bank against Reigns and Solo Sikoa, in which The Usos won.[67][68] Jey then faced Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam that August, but Jimmy interfered and cost his brother the match.[69] On the following SmackDown, Jimmy explained that he cost Jey the match to keep him from gaining power and becoming corrupted like Reigns. Jey subsequently attacked Jimmy and "quit" WWE,[70] but was later reinstated as a member of the Raw roster.[71] Despite being on different shows, Jimmy, who rejoined The Bloodline, would often appear on Raw and attack Jey or cost him matches. The two would also face off in the men's Royal Rumble match in January 2024 as the first two entrants.[39] Jimmy then cost Jey a match for the Intercontinental Championship the following month.[72] On the March 11 episode of Raw, fed up with his brother's actions, Jey challenged Jimmy to a match at WrestleMania XL,[61] which Jimmy accepted on that week's SmackDown.[66] The match was later confirmed for Night 1.[55]

At the Royal Rumble, Logan Paul defeated Kevin Owens by disqualification to retain SmackDown's United States Championship. Paul had attempted to use his signature brass knuckles, but Owens instead used them and was caught, thus was disqualified.[39] The following month at Elimination Chamber: Perth, Paul, Owens, and Randy Orton were participants in the men's Elimination Chamber match. Orton eliminated both Owens and Paul, who in turn caused Orton to be eliminated by punching him with the brass knuckles.[49] On the March 8 episode of SmackDown, Paul and his business partner KSI announced that their energy drink company, Prime, would be an official WWE sponsor with the Prime logo placed in the center of the ring mat for PPV and livestreaming events, in turn becoming WWE's first center ring mat sponsor. Orton interrupted and attempted an RKO on Paul, but Paul escaped with KSI instead receiving the RKO.[51] The following week, SmackDown General Manager Nick Aldis announced that Paul would defend the United States Championship against Owens and Orton in a triple threat match at WrestleMania XL,[66] which was later confirmed for Night 2.[55]

At Crown Jewel in November 2023, Rey Mysterio lost the United States Championship to Logan Paul after his Latino World Order (LWO) stablemate, Santos Escobar, left Paul's signature brass knuckles on the ring apron, allowing Paul to hit Rey with them and win the title.[73] On the following episode of SmackDown, fellow LWO member Carlito accused Escobar of intentionally leaving the brass knuckles on the ring apron. Later that night, Escobar attacked Rey as he was checking on Carlito, injuring Rey's left knee and striking it with steel steps, turning heel and defecting from the LWO.[53] After a three-month hiatus, Rey returned on the March 1 episode of SmackDown to help Carlito defeat Escobar in a street fight.[50] Three weeks later, Escobar defeated Rey after interference from the latter's son, "Dirty" Dominik Mysterio, who had turned on his father at Clash at the Castle in September 2022 to join The Judgment Day.[74] One week later, Escobar and his Legado Del Fantasma stablemates thanked Dominik for his actions. Rey interrupted, introduced Dragon Lee as the newest member of the LWO, and Rey and Lee subsequently challenged Escobar and Dominik to a tag team match at WrestleMania XL, which was made official for Night 1.[56][55] The following week, however, Lee was attacked backstage, rendering him unable to compete at WrestleMania. Andrade, who assisted Rey in fending off Escobar and Dominik earlier that night and reunited with LWO's Zelina Vega, was named Lee's replacement.[26]

At SmackDown: New Year's Revolution on January 5, Karrion Kross, accompanied by Scarlett, attacked The Pride (Bobby Lashley, Angelo Dawkins, and Montez Ford) with help from the returning Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar), accompanied by Paul Ellering, with Kross, Scarlett, Authors of Pain, and Ellering forming a faction called The Final Testament.[75] The two groups would continue feuding over the next couple of months and on the March 29 episode of SmackDown, The Final Testament attacked Lashley and B-Fab backstage, causing a distraction that cost The Street Profits (Dawkins and Ford) their tournament final match to qualify for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania XL.[56] On April 1, a six-man tag team Philadelphia Street Fight pitting The Final Testament against The Pride was confirmed for WrestleMania XL Night 2.[55]

Cancelled matches

Brock Lesnar, who last appeared at SummerSlam in August 2023, was planned to return at the Royal Rumble and be featured in a match at WrestleMania XL, reportedly against Gunther. However, due to Lesnar being referenced in a sex trafficking lawsuit against Vince McMahon, Lesnar was pulled from the Royal Rumble and all planned storylines for him leading into WrestleMania were scrapped.[76]

CM Punk, who after nearly 10 years made his return to WWE at Survivor Series: WarGames in November 2023, legitimately tore his right triceps during the men's Royal Rumble match. It was reported that his planned WrestleMania XL match was to challenge Seth "Freakin" Rollins for Raw's World Heavyweight Championship, but due to his injury, plans were changed.[77]

Event

WrestleMania XL stage

Night 1

Other on-screen personnel – Saturday
Role Name
English commentators Michael Cole
Corey Graves
Pat McAfee
Spanish commentators Marcelo Rodriguez
Jerry Soto
Ring announcer Samantha Irvin
Referees Danilo Anfibio
Jason Ayers
Shawn Bennett
Jessika Carr
Daphne Lashaunn
Eddie Orengo
Chad Patton
Rod Zapata
Interviewers Kayla Braxton
Cathy Kelley
Byron Saxton
Pre-show panel Jackie Redmond
CM Punk
Big E
Wade Barrett
Pre-show correspondents Megan Morant
Tom Rinaldi

Preliminary matches

WrestleMania Saturday began with WWE Chief Content Officer Triple H welcoming and hyping up the fans for the event.[78]

In the first match, Rhea Ripley defended the Women World's Championship against Becky Lynch. During the match, Lynch performed a leg drop on Ripley, sending her out of the ring and a Beck-sploder on Ripley at ringside. Lynch applied the Dis-arm-her on Ripley, who escaped by performing three sit-out powerbombs on Lynch for a nearfall. Lynch attempted another leg drop on Ripley, who countered into a Prison Trap submission maneuver, however, Lynch escaped. As Ripley attempted the Riptide, Lynch countered into a Manhandle Slam on Ripley for a nearfall. Ripley performed a Riptide on Lynch for a nearfall. Lynch applied the Dis-Arm-Her on Ripley, which sent both of the ring and Ripley a powerbomb on Lynch to escape. Ripley performed a frog splash on Lynch for a near fall. In the closing moments, as Lynch attempted a second Manhandle Slam, Ripley countered and performed two Riptides on Lynch to retain the title.[78]

Next, The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor and Damian Priest) defended the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship in a Six-Pack Tag Team Ladder match against #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa), The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods), The Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth), A-Town Down Under (Austin Theory and Grayson Waller), and New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate) in which both sets of titles had to be retrieved for the match to end. During the match, Truth performed the Attitude Adjustment on Bálor and pinned him for a three count. Truth celebrated, thinking it was a traditional tag team match, however, Miz had informed Truth that they had to unhook the title belts down to win them. Truth then suggested that #DIY go after the Raw Tag Team Championship, while he and Miz go after the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The two teams were then knocked down by A-Town Down Under, who climbed the ladder and retrieved the SmackDown titles to become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions. New Catch Republic then sent Waller crashing through ladders outside the ring. #DIY then set two tables next to each other at ringside. Judgment Day member JD McDonagh ascended the ladder to unhook the belts, however, The New Day tipped over the ladder, causing McDonagh to crash through the tables. In the end, Truth performed another Attitude Adjustment on Priest over the top rope to the floor. Truth then ascended the ladder and unhooked the Raw titles to win them, concluding the match as well as ending the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship with the two titles now separated. This made Truth the oldest Raw Tag Team Champion in the title's history and marked his first win at WrestleMania.[78]

After that, Rey Mysterio and Andrade (accompanied by Rey's LWO stablemates Carlito, Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde, and Zelina Vega) faced Santos Escobar and "Dirty" Dominik Mysterio (accompanied by Escobar's Legado del Fantasma stablemates Angel, Berto, and Elektra Lopez). In the end, two masked men incapacitated Dominik, and Rey then performed a 619 on Dominik and Escobar. Andrade performed a piledriver on Dominik and Rey performed a frog splash on Escobar to win the match. Following the match, the masked men, who were revealed as Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, celebrated with the LWO. [78]

In the fourth match, Jey Uso faced his brother Jimmy Uso in only the third-ever real life brother vs. brother match at WrestleMania (after Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart at WrestleMania X in March 1994 and Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy at WrestleMania 25 in April 2009). Before the match officially began, the two brawled at ringside. During the match, Jey and Jimmy traded multiple superkicks against each other. As Jey attempted a superkick on Jimmy, Jimmy pleaded forgiveness to Jey with Jimmy feigning an apology. After Jimmy offered a handshake to Jey, the latter shook his brother's hand and embraced him, however, Jimmy responded with a super kick to Jey. Jimmy then performed the Frog Splash on Jey for a nearfall. In the end, Jey performed a Spear and Uso Splash on Jimmy to win the match.[78]

Next, Jade Cargill, Bianca Belair, and Naomi faced off against Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, and Kairi Sane) in a six-woman tag team match. In the end, Asuka accidentally spit mist in Sane's face, allowing Belair to whip Asuka with her ponytail and followed up with the KOD. Cargill then performed the Jaded on Kai to win the match.[78]

Sami Zayn ended Gunther's Intercontinental Championship reign at 666 days, the longest in the title's history.

In the penultimate match, Gunther defended the Intercontinental Championship against Sami Zayn. As Zayn charged for the Helluva Kick, Gunther countered into a sleeper hold submission. Zayn escaped and attempted the Blue Thunder Bomb, but Gunther countered again and applied another sleeper hold. Gunther performed a dropkick and powerbomb on Zayn for a nearfall. Gunther executed multiple powerbombs, but Zayn kicked out. Gunther started mocking Zayn's wife, who was seated in the front row and performed multiple top rope splashes on Zayn. As Gunther climbed the top rope, Zayn performed a Helluva Kick and Brainbuster on Gunther on the top turnbuckle. Zayn then followed up with two consecutive Helluva Kicks and pinned Gunther to win the title for a fourth time, ending Gunther's 666 day reign as champion.[78]

Main event

Rock and Reigns face to face with Rhodes and Rollins.

In the main event of Night 1, The Bloodline (The Rock and Roman Reigns, accompanied by Paul Heyman) faced Cody Rhodes and Seth "Freakin" Rollins in a match where if Rhodes and Rollins won, all members of The Bloodline would be barred from ringside during the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match between Reigns and Rhodes on Night 2, but if Rock and Reigns won, then the championship match would be held under Bloodline Rules. While Rock and Rollins were fighting outside the ring, Rock warned referee Chad Patton that he would fire him if there was a countout. As Reigns tagged in Rock, Rock performed a low blow on Rollins. Patton apologized to Rhodes as there was nothing he could do about it. Rock applied the Sharpshooter on Rollins, in which Rhodes broke it up by slapping Rock in the face. As Reigns' nose was bleeding, he attempted the Spear on Rhodes, who countered and performed a Sunset Flip for a nearfall. Rhodes performed the Cody Cutter and Rollins followed up with a frog splash on Reigns for a nearfall. Rollins performed a second Stomp on Reigns, in which Rhodes followed up with the Cross Rhodes. Rhodes went for the pin, but Rock pulled the referee out of the ring. Reigns recovered and hit Rhodes from behind with a low blow and a Spear. Rock rolled the referee back inside the ring for a nearfall. Outside the ring, Rock grabbed the weight belt with Rhodes' blood on it and taunted Rhodes' mother, who was seated at ringside. Back in the ring, Rock attempted the People's Elbow, but Rhodes countered with the Cody Cutter. Reigns attempted the Spear on Rhodes, who was pushed out of the way by Rollins, causing Reigns to accidentally spear Rock. Rhodes and Rollins performed simultaneous Pedigrees on Rock and Reigns for a nearfall. Outside the ring, Rhodes performed the Rock Bottom on Rock through the broadcast table, while Reigns speared Rollins through the barricade. Back in the ring, as Rhodes attempted a third consecutive Cross Rhodes on Reigns, Rock whipped Rhodes with the weight belt, allowing Reigns to perform the Spear on Rhodes. Reigns tagged in Rock, who performed the People's Elbow on Rhodes and pinned him to win the match, making the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match on Night 2 to be held under Bloodline Rules. This match was the second longest in WrestleMania history (after Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII in March 1996).[78]

Night 2

Other on-screen personnel – Sunday
Role Name
English commentators Michael Cole
Corey Graves
Pat McAfee
CM Punk (opening match)
Snoop Dogg (Philadelphia Street Fight)
Spanish commentators Marcelo Rodriguez
Jerry Soto
Ring announcer Samantha Irvin
Referees Danilo Anfibio
Bubba Ray Dudley (Philadelphia Street Fight)
Dan Engler
Eddie Orengo
Charles Robinson
Ryan Tran
Rod Zapata
Interviewers Kayla Braxton
Cathy Kelley
Peter Rosenberg
Byron Saxton
Pre-show panel Jackie Redmond
Big E
Wade Barrett
John "Bradshaw" Layfield
Pre-show correspondents Megan Morant
Tom Rinaldi

Preliminary matches

WrestleMania Sunday began with a returning Stephanie McMahon hyping up the crowd for the event.[79]

In the first match, Seth "Freakin" Rollins defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Drew McIntyre, with CM Punk as a special guest commentator. Immediately at the beginning of the match, McIntyre performed the Claymore Kick on Rollins for a nearfall. Outside the ring, McIntyre grabbed a cellphone and took a selfie with his wife. Following this, Rollins performed the Pedigree on McIntyre. The latter beat the count, but as he went back into the ring, Rollins immediately performed the Stomp for a nearfall. McIntyre turned his attention to Punk and mocked him by signaling for his finisher, the GTS, but Rollins countered into an inside cradle for a nearfall. McIntyre then performed another Claymore Kick on Rollins for a nearfall. In the climax, as Rollins kicked out of another Claymore Kick, McIntyre hit him with the maneuver again and pinned him to finally win a WWE world title in front of a live crowd.[79]

After the match, McIntyre mocked Punk and gestured a crotch chop. Punk stood up and tripped McIntyre. Punk then removed the brace from his arm and hit McIntyre with it. 2023 Men's Money in the Bank winner Damian Priest then ran out to the ring with his briefcase and cashed in the contract. Priest immediately performed the South of Heaven on McIntyre and pinned him to win the title. This made him the first WWE world champion of Puerto Rican descent in over fifty years and only the second WWE world champion of Puerto Rican descent after Pedro Morales. This also made him the second person to cash in his briefcase at WrestleMania (after Rollins at WrestleMania 31 in 2015).[79]

Next, The Pride (Bobby Lashley, Angelo Dawkins, and Montez Ford, accompanied by B-Fab) faced The Final Testament (Karrion Kross, Akam, and Rezar, accompanied by Scarlett and Paul Ellering) in a Philadelphia Street Fight match. WWE Hall of Famer and rapper Snoop Dogg was the special guest commentator for the match, and WWE Hall of Famer Bubba Ray Dudley was introduced as the special guest referee. In the end, Kross bickered with Dudley and shoved him. Dudley then pulled out his Hansen Brothers glasses and put them on and then signaled to "Get The Tables". Ford and Dawkins grabbed a table and set it up inside the ring. Ford then performed a Frog Splash on Kross through the table. Lashley then pinned Kross to win the match. After the match, Snoop Dogg joined The Pride and Dudley inside the ring and celebrated with them.[79]

After that, LA Knight faced AJ Styles. Before the match began, Knight and Styles ensued in a brawl. As Knight went for a superplex, Styles slipped under him and tripped him, causing Knight's head to hit the top turnbuckle pad. In the climax, Styles attempted the Phenomenal Forearm on Knight, who countered and performed the Blunt Force Trauma on Styles and pinned him to win his WrestleMania debut.[79]

In the next match, Logan Paul (accompanied by the Prime energy drink mascot) defended the United States Championship against Randy Orton and Kevin Owens. Throughout the match, Orton and Owens double-teamed Paul. As Orton and Owens attempted to pin Paul, both men traded punches to each other, giving Paul the opportunity to roll outside. Owens attempted the Stunner on Orton, only for the latter to counter into the RKO for a nearfall. Paul then hit Orton with his brass knuckles for a nearfall. Orton set up for the Punt Kick, but the Prime mascot pulled Paul outside the ring and revealed himself as IShowSpeed. Orton then performed the RKO on IShowSpeed through the announce table. Back in the ring, Orton countered Owens' Pop-Up Powerbomb attempt into the RKO. Paul then threw Orton out of the ring and performed the Frog Splash on Owens and pinned him to retain the title.[79]

In the penultimate match, Iyo Sky defended the WWE Women's Championship against Bayley. During the match, Sky performed two consecutive bridge suplexes on Bayley for a nearfall. Sky applied the STF and transitioned into a crossface, in which Bayley escaped and performed the Bayley to Belly on Sky for a nearfall. Sky performed an Over The Moonsault, but Bayley kicked out. After hitting Sky with an elbow drop, Bayley performed the Rose Plant and pinned Sky to win the title for a second time.[79]

Main event

John Cena (left) and The Undertaker (right) both appeared in the main event to help Cody Rhodes against The Bloodline.

In the main event of Night 2, Roman Reigns (accompanied by Paul Heyman) defended the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in a Bloodline Rules match against Cody Rhodes. During the match, Reigns and Rhodes fought into the crowd, where Rhodes suplexed Reigns on a table. Back in the ring, Reigns performed a back suplex and a fisherman's suplex on Rhodes for nearfalls. Outside the ring, Reigns performed a low blow on Rhodes before powerbombing him through an announce table. The two continued to fight back in the ring, where Rhodes performed the Cross Rhodes on Reigns, but as he attempted a second, Jimmy Uso attacked Rhodes. However, Jey Uso ran in. The two fought up the entrance ramp and Jey speared Jimmy off the ramp through tables. Reigns applied the guillotine choke, but Rhodes forced himself and Reigns out of the ring, where Rhodes speared Reigns through the barricade. Much like the previous year's WrestleMania, Rhodes performed the Cross Rhodes on Reigns twice, only for Solo Sikoa to appear and perform a Samoan Spike on Rhodes just before the third attempt.[79]

However, even after a Samoan Spike/Spear combination by Sikoa and Reigns, Rhodes kicked out. John Cena, who had his own issues with The Bloodline, then ran down to and hit Attitude Adjustments on both Sikoa and Reigns. The Rock appeared and after a stare-down with his old rival, performed a Rock Bottom on Cena. The Shield's music then hit, and Seth "Freakin" Rollins, who was wearing the stable's old gear, arrived with a chair, but before he could hit Rock with it, he was taken out by Reigns with a Superman Punch. Rock was about to attack Rhodes with the weight belt, but The Undertaker then appeared and took out Rock with a chokeslam. With chaos unfolding around the ring, Reigns had the opportunity to take out Rhodes with a chair, but instead decided to hit Rollins in the back with the chair (as deliberate revenge for Rollins betraying Reigns in the same way that caused the Shield's breakup 10 years prior) before throwing it away. Reigns attempted to spear Rhodes, but Rhodes countered the move and hit three successive Cross Rhodes and then pinned Reigns to finish his story of becoming WWE Champion, and also ending Reigns' 1,316 day reign as Universal Champion, the fourth longest world championship reign in WWE history. After the match, Rhodes celebrated with many main roster wrestlers and WWE legends, as well as his family.[79]

Reception

The Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes was universally praised. Wade Keller of Pro Wrestling Torch called it "a mega-spectacle of a match", stating that the only downfall was that the near falls before the slew of interferences occurred "didn't really resonate as possible finishes since the Bloodline Rules advantage hadn't come into play yet", but "once it did, it delivered huge pops". Keller stated that he "loved the idea of other top babyfaces celebrating with Cody, as Dusty Rhodes did that when he won NWA World Titles".[80]

Chris Mueller of Bleacher Report and Brent Brookhouse of CBS Sports called it "overbooked in the best way".[81] Brookhouse stated that there was a "plodding" beginning because "everyone knew the mess of interference" from The Bloodline would be coming, and that "Rhodes getting help from Jey Uso, Cena, Rollins and Undertaker was the kind of wild mess that only makes sense at WrestleMania".[82]

Philip Sledge of Cinemablend described the match, and the appearances by The Rock, John Cena, and The Undertaker, as being WWE's "Avengers: Endgame moment".[83]

Writing for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, for Night One, Dave Meltzer gave the Women's World Championship match a score of 4 and 1/4 stars, the Six-Pack Tag Team Ladder Match 4 and 1/4 stars, the Mysterio-Escobar led tag team match 3 and 3/4 stars, the Jey Uso-Jimmy Uso bout three quarters of a star (the lowest score of the event), the six-woman tag team match two stars, the Intercontinental Champion match four and a half stars, and the main event receiving four stars. For Night Two, he gave the World Heavyweight Champion match three and a half stars, the Philadelphia Street Fight 1 and 3/4 stars, the LA Knight-AJ Styles match 3 and 1/2 stars, the Triple Threat match four and 1/4 stars, the WWE Women's Championship match 4 and 1/2 stars, and the Bloodline Rules main event 4 and a half stars.[84]

Results

Night 1
No.ResultsStipulationsTimes[78]
1Rhea Ripley (c) defeated Becky Lynch by pinfallSingles match for the Women's World Championship[85]17:05
2A-Town Down Under (Austin Theory and Grayson Waller) and Awesome Truth (The Miz and R-Truth) defeated The Judgment Day (Finn Bálor and Damian Priest) (c), #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa), The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods), and New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate) by retrieving the SmackDown and Raw championships, respectivelySix-Pack Tag Team Ladder match for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship[86]
Both sets of titles had to be retrieved for the match to end.
17:25
3Rey Mysterio and Andrade (with Carlito, Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde, and Zelina Vega) defeated Santos Escobar and "Dirty" Dominik Mysterio (with Angel, Berto, and Elektra Lopez) by pinfallTag team match[87]11:05
4Jey Uso defeated Jimmy Uso by pinfallSingles match[88]11:05
5Jade Cargill, Bianca Belair, and Naomi defeated Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai, Asuka, and Kairi Sane) by pinfallSix-woman tag team match[89]8:05
6Sami Zayn defeated Gunther (c) by pinfallSingles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship[90]15:30
7The Bloodline (The Rock and Roman Reigns) (with Paul Heyman) defeated Cody Rhodes and Seth "Freakin" Rollins by pinfallTag team match[91]
Since Rock and Reigns won, the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship match on Night 2 was held under Bloodline Rules.
Had Rhodes and Rollins won, all members of The Bloodline would have been barred from ringside during the championship match.
44:35
(c) – the champion(s) heading into the match
Night 2
No.ResultsStipulationsTimes[79]
1Drew McIntyre defeated Seth "Freakin" Rollins (c) by pinfallSingles match for the World Heavyweight Championship[92]10:30
2Damian Priest defeated Drew McIntyre (c) by pinfallSingles match for the World Heavyweight Championship[92]
This was Priest's Money in the Bank cash-in match.
0:09
3The Pride (Bobby Lashley, Angelo Dawkins, and Montez Ford) (with B-Fab) defeated The Final Testament (Karrion Kross, Akam, and Rezar) (with Scarlett and Paul Ellering) by pinfallPhiladelphia Street Fight[93]
Bubba Ray Dudley was the special guest referee.
8:35
4LA Knight defeated AJ Styles by pinfallSingles match[94]12:25
5Logan Paul (c) (with IShowSpeed)[c] defeated Kevin Owens and Randy Orton by pinfallTriple threat match for the WWE United States Championship[95]17:40
6Bayley defeated Iyo Sky (c) by pinfallSingles match for the WWE Women's Championship[96]14:20
7Cody Rhodes defeated Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) by pinfallBloodline Rules match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship[97]33:25
(c) – the champion(s) heading into the match

Six-Pack Tag Team Ladder Match SmackDown Qualifier Tournament (2024)

First round
SmackDown
(March 15)
Final
SmackDown
(March 29)
    
Latino World Order
(Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro)
9:12[98]
Legado Del Fantasma
(Angel and Berto)
Pin
Legado Del Fantasma
(Angel and Berto)
7:19[99]
Bracket #1
New Catch Republic
(Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate)
Pin
New Catch Republic
(Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate)
Pin
Pretty Deadly
(Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)
11:14[98]
First round
SmackDown
(March 22)
Final
SmackDown
(March 29)
    
A-Town Down Under
(Austin Theory and Grayson Waller)
Pin
The O.C.
(Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
7:19[100]
A-Town Down Under
(Austin Theory and Grayson Waller)
Pin
Bracket #2
The Street Profits
(Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford)
6:20[99]
The Street Profits
(Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford)
Pin
The Authors of Pain
(Akam and Rezar)
8:37[100]

Notes

  1. ^ Specifically, under the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship banner, his reign with the WWE Universal Championship ended at 1,316 days while his WWE Championship reign ended at 735 days.
  2. ^ Order of elimination: Kit Wilson, Elton Prince, Angel, Berto, Cameron Grimes, Jinder Mahal, Apollo Crews, Veer, Sanga, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Cruz Del Toro, Brutus Creed, Julius Creed, Omos, Joaquin Wilde, Cedric Alexander, Ashante "Thee" Adonis, Ricochet, JD McDonagh, Otis, Akira Tozawa, and Ivar.
  3. ^ Speed had accompanied Logan Paul to the ring disguised as a Prime bottle; his identity was unveiled midway through the match.

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