PPV Reviews WrestleMania

WWE WrestleMania 39 Night 1 PPV Review

The SmarkDown crew give their insights on the first night of WrestleMania Hollywood! From a father taking on his own son, to a record setting Tag Title reign in the balance, let’s go!

  • April 1st, 2023
  • Inglewood, California
  • SoFi Stadium

Austin Theory(c) vs. John Cena | WWE United States Championship Match

IMG Credit: Hindustan Times

Austin Theory def. John Cena via Pinfall at 11:20 to RETAIN the WWE United States Championship

Tanner: This match has some decent action, but it is far too basic and short to really be meaningful. It’s not a bad match, but it’s certainly not a satisfying one either. It’s a bit of a poor way to open the show. **¼

Prince: This was bound to happen at this stage during the first United States title reign of Austin itself. The tease was given right there, and it was a long way of tweaking the character of Austin and making him look upfront facing Cena as a brash, overconfident heel like how the 16-time World Champion used to be. It was built really well, which led to a solid expectation by the fans for a great clash. It was a rock-solid tussle still, but there was more room for improvement as well. They could’ve used more time to deliver something great from what was developing. However, Austin needed this victory to solidify his place as one of the top prospects in the game, while Cena could give his momentous rub to whoever he wants during his final stages as an active star. ***½

Ben: Solid and nothing more, Theory just controlled most of it and Cena didn’t really do anything beside the finishing sequence, the ending came too soon before the match ever got into its own, surprise that Cena didn’t even kick out of at least 1 finisher or even hit the AA, finish was very abrupt. **½

Tomás: Unquestionably one of the most highly anticipated matches on the card, with a solid enough long build. Despite that, the match just didn’t click like it should’ve for some strange reason. Technically, it was a decent match. There was just no substance to it. Pretty disappointing opener. **½

MrDCWood: A fine choice for opener. The crowd was really into it, and at 45, Cena’s still got a lot left in the tank. Theory has proven to be one of the best US Champs in years, but he needed this match to cement his position. Quality action, fine work from both, Theory biting Cena to escape the STF and turn the tide was a nice touch. Don’t have a problem with the ref bump, low blow, and A-Town finish. The heel retains over CENA. I’m happy. ***¼

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. The Viking Raiders vs. Alpha Academy vs. The Street Profits

IMG Credit: Wrestling Junkie

Angelo Dawkins def. Ricochet via Pinfall at 8:28

Tanner: I had a really good time watching this with some insane spots and constant moments that kept me interested in the short amount of time they received. This is honestly a good way to apologize to the division for their booking being so sh#t. ***

Prince: A superb sprint of action from four talented teams. Chad Gable never misses to impress the audience, and he did the same on the biggest stage he could possibly step in. Ford & Ricochet were athletic as always, while the others had ample time in the spotlight shining bright. Street Profits was my team to take the win because I could see them as the first challengers for the tag champions post-Mania. ***½

Ben: Fun filler match with plenty of mad spots, everyone got their moments in, Gable suplexing Braun, Strowman hitting a top rope splash, Ricochet floating in mid-air, great ending with Street Profits getting the win, the right pick up for the crowd after the somewhat pedestrian opener, great action. ***¼

Tomás: Filler that lasted a lot longer than it definitely should’ve, especially considering the disappointing opener. I just wanted the show to move on, but they did make the most of their time with highspot after highspot, albeit with no particular reason or purpose. This was just there, was fine for what it was, but was definitely at least a couple minutes longer than necessary. Props to Chad Gable and that impressive suplex, which was the high point of the match.

MrDCWood: I wasn’t expecting anything from this other than filler, but MY GOD this blew me away! Got off to a slow start, but it once it changed into a higher gear, everyone involved delivered a fantastic display! There were some terrific spots, everyone shined, had a great structure and was booked brilliantly. Any team could’ve won and I’ve been happy, but the Street Profits were the most over and seemed best-suited for the next tag title shot. This was simply outstanding! ***½

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul

IMG Credit: Forbes

Seth Rollins def. Logan Paul via Pinfall at 16:16

Tanner: Logan displays his impressive athleticism again while delivering a pretty well-done match with Rollins. The KSI appearance was hilarious, and the bump he took was a site to see. Overall, I think this lived up to expectations. ***½

Prince: Whether you love him or hate him, when the atmosphere is as major as WrestleMania, he simply delivers the very best in the ring. It was no different here as he tried the very best to equalize Rollins. But, we know how the creator of “The Heist of the Century” rolls in the grandest stage. He was incredible bell-to-bell, and the bar was raised once KSI was revealed behind the PRIME mascot for a fun finish. ****

Ben: Absolutely fantastic! Logan again shows he’s a natural, Rollins being a great babyface, sold the KO punch as a finish, KSI appeared! Great false finishes galore, exceeded everyone’s expectations there! Brilliant all round. Hope we continue to see Logan pop up for the big shows, he’s never failed to deliver the goods and hoping Seth goes full babyface now. ****

Tomás: One of those matches designed to get them publicity, and it was pretty successful at that, particularly with the frog splash through the table. As a match, it was good, but it had the potential to be a lot more. Rollins didn’t follow up with any armwork after a vicious stomp on the steps, which would’ve taken it to another level. Instead, they went the viral route, which is understandable. It had the potential to be better, but it was a pretty good match. ***¼

MrDCWood: Regardless of my personal dislike for Logan Paul, I will never deny he’s a superb athlete. Furthermore, he’s shown over and over again that he belongs in a wrestling ring. And with such great build-up since the Royal Rumble, this match against Seth was another winner. Like all other Logan Paul matches, it exceeds expectations, is booked perfectly, has some amazing spots, and tells a great story. I was NOT expecting KSI to appear here (another man I can’t stand!), but it played perfectly into the overall match. Seth gets his revenge, Logan gains even more credibility, KSI did great work…this was top notch! ****

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Damage CTRL vs. Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus, & Lita

IMG Credit: r/wreddit on Reddit

Becky Lynch def. Bayley via Pinfall at 14:38

Tanner: This match slogs at points, but it had some pretty decent action and tells a nice story. Trish and Lita, I suppose, aren’t too bad for their age, but they were most definitely carried by Becky against these Damage CTRL. I do wonder what’s next for Bayley and co…. **½

Prince: Of course, there was more room for improvement considering the involvement of Hall of Famers, but they hung with the youngbloods pretty nice. Dakota & Iyo were amazing as usual while Becky & Bayley took care of the major chunk of the match. I’m happy that the faces won, but how long does Damage CTRL face nothing but damage? ***½

Ben: Decent enough match, looked a bit clunky and out of place at times, people seemed out of position on more than one occasion on the hot tags, went a least 5/7 minutes too long, would’ve been better to cut it shorter. **

Tomás: This match had the potential to be fun had the legends’ hot tag sequences been built up well. Instead, we had people doing moves for no real reason and with no build at all. The hot tags happened out of nowhere to no reaction whatsoever, and they proceeded to just do moves for the remainder of the match. This match is the prime example of how the lack of basics will kill most matches. Extremely disappointing. *

MrDCWood: I felt sorry for the ladies here as the crowd was clearly drained after the Rollins/Paul bout. That hurt this match, as did the match’s length. Cutting five minutes off this would’ve helped. Quite a few botches, It also doesn’t really pick up until the last few moments. Some very good spots at the end, but it could’ve been so much more. Where does Damage CTRL go from here? **¼

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio

IMG Credit: Wrestling Headlines

Rey Mysterio def. Dominik Mysterio via Pinfall at 14:30

Tanner: I’ll say, I’m fairly impressed by Dominik’s performance here. He seems motivated to do his best, especially against his own father, and that’s great to see. The emotion surrounding this one was felt, and the twists and turns didn’t feel overdone. Overall, it’s a really well-done match here. ***½

Prince: Even though the action was rock-solid at best, it’s the story that elevated this match to a level where it was enjoyed by all. Dominik getting his well-earned beating from his legendary daddy was a sick moment, and it would’ve been happy for the now Hall of Famer to share the ring with his son again. The personal levels they touched were so deep, which made the interferences by JD, LWO, and Bad Bunny even better. However, Dom got a huge rub as the next “mega villain” in the making, and I hope he stays the same so that we can enjoy more of his work. ****

Ben: Brilliant entrances from both, the Eddie tribute, Dom’s heat was something else, family drama was done amazingly well, maybe a bit over the top with the interference but it doesn’t detract from the match’s story, you could feel everyone screaming for Rey to win, genuine babyface hero, what a legend and Dom certainly stood out, he’s only going to get better. ****¼

Tomás: The story told throughout this match was brilliant. They got me hooked from start to finish, with both men doing a fantastic job from the moment they first made their respective entrances until the very end. They got the crowd emotionally invested in the match, much to their credit, and the interactions with the family were really well done. Dominik is getting a lot better with time, and he doesn’t seem like the same person compared to when he teamed with his father. The only thing I’d change would be the Bad Bunny finish, which really wasn’t necessary, and the story deserved a better ending, but outside of that, this was fantastic. Absolutely awesome match! ****½

MrDCWood: This match is further proof that long-term build-up, amazing segments/interviews, and a killer storyline can produce a wicked pay-off! Dominik is a WHITE-HOT heel (only behind the likes of MJF and Roman), and he truly stepped up his game for this deeply personal father/son clash. There is not a great deal of high-flying action, but the storytelling, psychology, atmosphere, and involvement from the Mysterio family, Judgment Day, and the LWO made for another heated clash. No problems with Bad Bunny getting involved at the end. Hugely emotional bout with a much-deserved win for the legendary Hall of Famer, who still means so much to us. ***¾

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Charlotte Flair(c) vs. Rhea Ripley | WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match

IMG Credit: Sacnilk

Rhea Ripley def. Charlotte Flair via Pinfall at 23:34 to WIN the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

Tanner: This started out rough, but they quickly recovered with an absolutely brutal back and forth contest that had me questioning if this was REAL. Fantastic match overall, props to both women. ***¾

Prince: A mind-blowing showdown from these women that easily toppled their encounter three years ago over the top rope. Despite the not-so-great build, they knew the impact of the stage they are, and that’s what they wanted three years before. I’m super glad that they utilized it to the optimum, and I’m simply proud of these ladies. Charlotte was at an optimistic level like never before, thanks to her wonderful chemistry with The Eradicator. If Rhea hasn’t arrived at the scene before, she is NOW! I am proud of her rise from a mischievous badass in NXT to a ruthless monster that’s about to rule the blue brand hereafter. *****

Ben: Phenomenal match, both worked fantastically together, everything felt impactful and had meaning behind it and a brilliant finish to end it, it had you twisting and turning on who was going to win all the way, even better than their match at WM36 and with the right winner, Charlotte has her working boots on with a brilliant showing reminding how great she actually is in the ring, Rhea winning absolutely the right call, she’s has the run of her career and so deserves to be champion now. ****½

Tomás: Spectacular match, very physical encounter with awesome callbacks to their previous pay-per-view bouts throughout the years. There were several great nearfalls where fans genuinely believed it would be over, for both sides. The finish was great, and it’s wonderful to see Ripley win the championship! ****

MrDCWood: In-ring-wise, bouts between Charlotte & Rhea have never disappointed. These two ladies have SUCH chemistry. And this match was definitely the greatest they’ve ever had together. WHAT A MATCH! Flair and Ripley put on a 23-minute epic that had me on the edge of my seat! Let’s be real, after WrestleMania 36 and Money in the Bank 2021, we all wanted Rhea to finally beat Charlotte cleanly & decisively for the title…and that’s what we got! I liked Charlotte breaking character at the end (she seemed genuinely happy that Rhea got her big moment at last)…Match of the Night. And a worthy Match of the Year candidate. ****½

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Miz and Snoop Dogg announce a total attendance of 80,497! Miz mentions an open challenge and out comes…


IMG Credit: Features of Wrestling

The Miz vs. Pat McAfee

IMG Credit:

Pat McAfee def. The Miz via Pinfall at 3:35

Tanner: This was so random, but I appreciate it as a cool down. N/R

Prince: I least expected this to happen, but it was a fun WrestleMania moment. I don’t have the heart to rate this as an official match, so here’s my grade of how much I enjoyed this breather before the barnburner of a main event. A-

Ben: A fun interlude before the main event. I’m a big Pat fan, so it’s cool to see him at Mania again. ½*

Tomás: Impromptu match to kill some time before the main event. There was nothing to this one, but it was cool to see Pat McAfee again. ½*

MrDCWood: Really, we needed another breather after Rhea/Charlotte, and it’s always great to see Pat McAfee. This was alright, just an impromptu segment/match to allow the audience to recover in-time for the main event. Miz can easily afford the loss…I’ve seen much worse than this in wrestling. *

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Usos(c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn | WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships Match

IMG Credit: Wrestling Observer

Sami Zayn def. Jey Uso via Pinfall at 24:17

Tanner: The pacing is rather slow, and the superkicks can be a bit much, but overall, this was a very enjoyable and emotional closer to night 1. I’m so proud of Sami for getting where he is now, and seeing him get the pin in a WrestleMania Main Event was so satisfying. A great way to close The Usos’ historic reign. ***½

Prince: The Usos took a long time as predicted to take control of the situation in the initial stages, but the fire inside Zayn & Owens as well as the magnanimous storyline propelled this clash to a godly level of adrenaline rush and emotional turmoil. Even The Usos upped the ante with their agonizing acts of offense on both men for their family sake. The ultimate result felt so sweet to witness as the wheels of The Bloodline have officially begun to chip off. ****½

Ben: UNBELIEVABLE! The story was simply incredible, Usos the superior team but Owens and Sami’s heart kept them in it, refusing to give up and keep fighting, the story was Sami and Jey, Jey holding Sami up for the multiple super kicks and then Sami doing the same back to Jey at the end with the Helluva Kicks to win the match, heart wrenching all the way, flawless storytelling the satisfaction of a great long title reign reaching a natural conclusion, what an ending to Night 1. *****

Tomás: Took them a while to get going, but the final few minutes were spectacular. They exchanged countless dramatic nearfalls back and forth until it culminated with Sami pinning Jey in what was the perfect finale. Great way to end the first night of WrestleMania 39 after a great matchup. ***¾

MrDCWood: The long-term build-up to this one was absolutely sublime, and although it took time to get going, this match became another belter which got the audience back into it. A great story that had me on the edge of my seat again, with several great near-falls and character-work. All four men truly deserved to main-event a WrestleMania after all their years of hard work. The Usos cemented their legacy as one of the all-time great tag teams, as their incredible 622-day reign came to an end. Kevin and Sami cemented their legacies by achieving the almighty. Great match! ****½

Rating: 4 out of 5.


Tanner: At points, this show is a mixed bag, but it’s also got a pretty stellar catalog of matches and moments that make it an overall highly enjoyable first night of WrestleMania. Kevin and Sami closing the show holding the belts and shedding tears was an amazing ending as well. 7.5/10

Prince: One of the highly anticipated events of the whole weekend was a humongous success! This particular night, as usual, set the tone for Night Two on a gargantuan scale. The opener was pretty nice even though it could’ve been better, the men’s showcase bout was an energetic fun ride, Logan out delivered once again hanging in there against one of the greats of this generation in Rollins, the women in the face-off of trios had a fine outing considering the icons involved, a Hall of Fame father delivered a blazing beating to his son’s bastard leveled actions, one of the best women’s matches of the year already & the most hyped main event was contested with all the emotions set right giving a result that had a sky-high reaction from the LA faithful. Had the breathers been tinkered better to remember even deeper, this would have been an all-time classic of a WrestleMania. Nonetheless, it’s just one night! The burden is heavy for the Sunday night fighters, and I’m confident enough that they could deliver the same. 9/10

Ben: Overall an excellent show, Cena/Theory and the 6-Women Tag were a bit disappointing but everything else was brilliant, the showcase match was fun, Seth/Logan was excellent, Rey/Dom was awesome storytelling, Charlotte/Rhea was a wonderfully brutal match, and the main event was so emotionally satisfying 8/10

Tomás: It was a good first night with a couple of terrific matches and a couple more really good matches. It also had its fair amount of low points, including a disappointing opener, the horrible six-women tag and the pointless four-way, but most of them were in the first half of the show and thus this night benefits from the “how you leave ’em” affect. Certainly hoping the second night is (at least) as good as the first, but hopefully, even better! 7/10

MrDCWood: To me, this has been the best WrestleMania since WrestleMania 31. A great atmosphere, some great entrances, great spectacles…most of the matches were bouts you’d expect to watch at a WrestleMania. Usos/KO & Sami and Rhea/Charlotte were both amazing (Rhea/Charlotte is another MOTY candidate for 2023), the four-way tag showcase, Logan/Paul and Rey/Dominik were all truly great, and Cena/Theory was a fine opener. Special Shout-Out to the Miz and Snoop Dogg for being great hosts as well. The six-women tag match may have been disappointing, but overall, this was a great first-night for WrestleMania 39 from top-to-bottom. Hopefully, it will be a good omen for Night Two tomorrow! 9/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly