The first-half of WWE's massive WrestleMania 36 took place Saturday from the company's Performance Center in Orlando and a jam-packed card left fans asking one question when all was said and done: can Sunday's matches possibly top this?
The answer? It depends.
Night one saw inspired performances from Becky Lynch, Shayna Baszler, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, the SmackDown tag team division, Undertaker and AJ Styles. Those competitors set the bar extremely high for their peers to try and eclipse Sunday but one look at the remaining card suggests it is entirely possible.
WrestleMania 36, Night Two Match Card
- WWE Championship Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar
- Firefly Funhouse Match: John Cena vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
- Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton
- NXT Women's Championship Match: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair
- Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Street Profits vs. Angel Garza and Austin Theory
- Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match for the SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Lacey Evans
- Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
- Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
- Kickoff Show Match: Natalya vs. Liv Morgan
World Title Matches
The advantage here clearly goes to Sunday night, regardless of how extraordinary or underwhelming Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar turns out to be.
Saturday's match between Braun Strowman and Goldberg, two minutes in length and full of the same two moves played on repeat, was abysmal. It somehow recognized low expectations and was even worse. It was a sprint of the match that could have been saved for an edition of SmackDown given how meaningless Strowman's big moment felt, for a number of reasons.
McIntyre and Lesnar, on the other hand, have a strong backstory and have demonstrated a certain level of intensity in their brief encounters with each other to date that fans have every reason to expect a longer, hard-hitting and more aggressive match out of them.
Saturday's card featured two incredible gimmick matches of completely different styles.
Up first was the Ladder Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in which John Morrison, Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso managed to mesh big bumps, high spots and creativity to build this fantastic display of storytelling and athleticism that would have played spectacularly in front of tens-of-thousands of WWE fans in a massive stadium setting.
Then there was the pre-taped, cinematic masterpiece that was the Boneyard Match.
No one really knew what to expect of that particular bout but Undertaker and AJ Styles worked a physically grueling, violent brawl that also including epic storyline devices, maximized the setting and never got too over-the-top for its own good.
Sunday's card features a hotly anticipated Last Man Standing match between Edge and Randy Orton and the mysterious Firefly Funhouse match between John Cena and Bray Wyatt, for which the rules still have not been announced.
The air of mystery surrounding the latter, coupled with what WWE's production team was able to accomplish in the Undertaker-Styles match, has fans hoping for a delightfully twisted mini-film that utilizes both Cena and Wyatt to their fullest potential.
What might put Sunday's card over-the-top is Edge vs. Orton.
The Rated R Superstar has waited nine years to set foot on the WrestleMania stage and, motivated by his own personal desire to get back in the ring and end his career on his own terms, not to mention deliver another WrestleMania classic to his resume, one should expect a hell of a performance.
The strength of Saturday's event was just how well the undercard performed.
A better-than-expected Women's Tag Team Championship match pitting Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross against The Kabuki Warriors kicked things off on a positive note while Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler had a damn good, highly physical match for the Raw Women's Championship.
Throw in a stellar bit of storytelling in the form of the Intercontinental Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Sami Zayn, and an even better brawl between Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins that ended with a death-defying high spot from the babyface, and you have a card that surpassed expectations.
Sunday's card will hope to do the same.
The Street Profits, Angel Garza and Austin Theory have the potential to leave the internet buzzing with their Raw Tag Team Championship match while Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler is a match with an incredible amount of heat attached. Hopefully, they can feed off it and deliver a suiting conclusion to their red-hot storyline.
The key to the undercard surpassing Sunday's may very well be the NXT Women's Championship match between Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair.
The Queen has made a career of rising to the occasion on wrestling's grandest stage and this should be no different. Tasked with the challenge of working with a young star who has never competed at this level, on this significant a card, expect the second-generation star to pull out all the stops in an attempt to cement her own legacy and help Ripley realize her own potential.
If the effort of all the stars on Sunday's lineup matches that of the competitors who left everything in the squared circle (or cemetery, for that matter), it is absolutely possible Sunday's card eclipses Saturdays.
The storylines at the top of the card are hotter than what we saw Saturday, while the undercard has the potential to be as good, if not slightly better than its predecessor.
If there is one match to circle that will ultimately decide which night was a better presentation, it will likely e Cena-Wyatt and whatever wacky, off-the-wall cinematic experience it creates for the fans. If it can live up to the lofty expectations set by the Boneyard Match, we could be looking at one of the best WrestleManias of all-time as a whole and one of the better one-night presentations in WWE history.