WrestleMania XL night two report

Arena:Lincoln Financial Field

City:Philadelphia, PA

So after two years, will Cody finish his story?  Guess we’ll find out…


After we went to the show last night with HHH walking Gorilla, tonight it was Chicago Phil doing the honors.  He came out to join comms.

Tonight started with Cole highlighting the main event being Bloodline Rules.  The camera cut to Cody’s bus, which he hasn’t left all day as he gets ready.  No-one’s seen him.  Some boos again.  Damage CTRL were shown arriving.  To more boos.  Then Bayley, to cheers.

Cole said it’s not so cold tonight.  Do you think we’ll get constant updates about how mild it is?

To another video voiced by Meek Mill.  He talked about taking titles, snatching glory, Cody and Roman the focus again.

They showed Drew warming up backstage.  Seth too.  As Cole wondered about his condition after last night.

God Bless America by the War Entreaty.

Stephanie McMahon then came out.  That’s kinda fun with Punk right there.  Though he hasn’t spoken yet.  She got a nice pop.  They are trying very hard to make it clear this is a new start and that old scumbag isn’t part of it.

She said she’s been part of every Mania.  But this is the one she’s most proud of ‘because it’s the first one of the Paul Levesque era.’  She did the DX ‘Are you ready!?’ then said it’s time to kick off the show.

A bagpipe squadron (I have no idea what you call a group of them) played as Punk piped up but Cole said they’d intro him properly in a minute.  Drew then came out, walking under a pair of swords like a knight.  There was a whole group more of them lining the entire ramp, very cool visual.

Cole then introduced the announcers, including Punk, saying he was sitting there because of Drew.

Some massive mardi gras band began playing Seth’s theme, crowd joining in.  Then Seth came out.  ‘Look at this doof,’said one of them.  Might have been Punk.  Dude’s not wrong.  Rollins led the whole band to the ring.  Very cheesy.  Punk refused to high-five the band on the grounds of his injury.  Wants no part of this silliness.

Crowd all joined in with Seth’s intro too.


Backstory: After initial plans were scuppered when Punk was injured in the Rumble, Drew won the Elimination Chamber to earn this shot; Seth’s dodgy knee was attacked during last night’s main event

Crowd Response: Very into this, helped by a high-impact start and stream of big moves

Match quality: Good match, as noted, it was full of big moves and near falls, possibly a few too many, but good nonetheless

Drew hit a Claymore right away, Seth just out before three.  Overhead belly to belly outside, Seth crashing hard.  A second.  He eyed Punk, crowd chanted for Punk.  This allowed Seth to counter Futureshock into a Pedigree, but Seth hurt his knee in doing so.

Curb Stomp as Drew returned inside.  Another near fall.  Nice start – fast, big moves.

Another Pedigree coming, Drew backdropping out, big right, Seth trying to fight back, exchange of rights, into chops, Seth responding via superkick, Drew with a Glasgow kiss then a neckbreaker.  Both down.

Drew kipping up though, some fans behind him here.  Seth still down.  Drew readying another Claymore, Seth countering into another Pedigree, another Stomp, Drew out at two.

Both down again.

Seth up first, favoring his back, to the top, thinking Stomp from upstairs.  Drew moved, each ducking the other’s finish until Drew landed a Futureshock for another two.  TiA from the crowd.

Drew again stopping to look at Punk before mocking the go to sleep motion.  GTS coming, Seth held on to hook a pin for two.  But ate another Claymore, stack, Seth kicking out again.

Drew got distracted again, heading out toward the announce desk and stripping it.  Punk said he couldn’t get it done in the ring so had to resort to this.  Drew readying a powerbomb through the desk, Seth firing elbows, escaping, then landing another Stomp against the announce desk.

Hurling Drew back in, the Scot landed another Claymore.  Seth out again.

Drew back to the corner, lining up another, and hitting.  This one got it done.  Big cheer for Drew.  You’d think this means he’s signed a new deal?

He looked emotional as he eyed the belt.  Seth left, Drew held up the belt to another big cheer.  He presented the title to his wife who was in the front row.  Then eyed Punk once more.  He told the other announcers to leave and crawled right into Punk’s face with the belt.

They jawed, you couldn’t really hear what was being said at first.  Drew definitely said, ‘I’ll end your career.’  This went on for quite a long time.  Stood atop the desk, Drew then crotch-chopped Punk, who tripped him by hooking his leg then removed his brace, stomping away at a downed Drew.

He then blew a kiss to Drew’s wife.



And Damian Priest hit the scene with the MITB briefcase.  He belted Drew with it then cashed in.  Samantha feverish.  Priest hit South of Heaven then pinned Drew.  Punk giggled.  The announcers between them said ‘Holy shit.’

The Judgment Day came out to celebrate atop the ramp.


Snoop Dogg came out to Gin & Juice.  The instrumental anyway.  He filled the seat vacated by Punk.  Bubba Ray then came out as the special guest ref.

Cole revealed this match is sponsored by Snoop & Dre’s new Gin & Juice drink.  Snoop implied he was drunk right now.  Doesn’t sound it.


Stips: Philly Street Fight

Backstory: After feuding since early January, the heels also cost the Profits their chance to qualifying for last night’s tag title match

Crowd Response: Into some of the big spots but otherwise bored to the point of spending much of the match amusing themselves

Match quality: Nothing match, boring and too long

All six faced off, the faces sent the heels outside and setup tables at ringside.  The Profits taken out though, Kross brought out the kendos, Lashley 1:3 as he was battered.  Kross grabbed a chair and hit a brutal neckbreaker against it.

The Profits returned but were quickly beaten down.  Akam and Rezar hit powerbombs to the Profits, B-Fab came in to help but was sent to the buckle by Scarlett.  Lashley saved the Profits from another set of powerbombs and began suplexing Kross.

Ford then flew over the buckle onto Akam & Rezar at ringside.  As Lashley began working over Kross with a chair.  Spinebuster onto it, Scarlett preventing the Hurt Lock with a kendo stick.  B-Fab took her out via pump kick then Russian legsweeped Scarlett off the apron through a table.  Looked brutal, hope they’re okay.

Kross took advantage to DDT Lashley onto a chair.  Lashley out at two.  Kross wasn’t happy, jawing with Bubba.  Who pulled out his glasses to a huge pop.  And Kross turned around into a Lashley spear.

The Profits hit a Wasssssup headbutt to the knackers.  Then grabbed another table and set it up inside.  It collapsed as they placed Kross on it.  Crowd booed.  So the Profits grabbed another.  Snoop said the kendo stick was the star of the show.

They placed Kross on the table, Montez Frogsplashed him through it for the win


Logan Paul was shown doing pushups.  Loud boos.

Paul Heyman was interviewed by Kayla.  She asked him to explain what Bloodline Rules are.  He said they’re anything goes until one man is left standing and announced as the champ as the loser ‘goes home to his wife… Brandi.’

Crowd ‘oohed’ at that.

LA Knight was shown arriving in a Slim Jim sports car.

He marched to the ring with purpose but stopped to present the winner of the above sports car to the winner.  Graves noted the contradiction.

AJ got huge pyro and also rushed the ring.


Backstory: Styles blamed Knight for snatching his spot in the Fastlane main event when he got injured, then cost him the chance to win the Elimination Chamber

Crowd Response: They loved doing the catchphrases, not sure they were much into the match

Match quality: Really enjoyed this, probably because it was dominated by Styles, who’s just so damn good

Knight immediately took him outside, slamming his head against the desk as the crowd yelled ‘Yeah!’ for each.  Knight then posed atop it before sending AJ back in.  The heel took advantage, attacking the leg as he returned.

More vicious kicks to them before snapping Knight’s leg across his knee.  Knight kicked his way free and countered another kick into a rollup for two, pair of clotheslines, Russian legsweep, stomps in the corner, crowd continuing to ‘Yeah!’ for everything.

Hip attack next, springboard tornado DDT for another two.

Before placing Styles up top, the latter slipping under a superplex attempt, dropping Knight face-first against the buckle.  AJ now back upstairs but met by Knight.  Who aimed crossfaces to the chest until AJ raked the eyes.  But Knight raced back up to hit an avalanche German.

Styles out at two.

Cole joked that they only knew the names of these moves from voicing over 2K.  As Styles got a calf crusher, Knight screaming in pain as AJ wrenched back, Knight finally getting the ropes for the break.

AJ continuing to assault the legs against the ringpost, before aiming a dropkick at them from the apron.  Knight fought back and removed some ringside mats, seeking a piledriver but being body dropped as AJ countered.  Styles raced back in and demanded the ref start counting.

Knight just made it in a split second before ten.

An angry AJ aiming a stiff kick then heading to the apron for a springboard 450, Knight got his knees up, AJ’s selling was tremendous.  Exchange of rights – yeah!/boo – Knight winning out until AJ ducked and hit a Pele.

Then looked for a Phenomenal Forearm, Knight moved, Styles rolled him up, looked for a Styles Clash, Knight fought out, AJ rocked him then loaded another Forearm but was tripped and came down onto the ropes, Knight hit BFT to win.

Out of nowhere.


Package for the 2024 HOF.  Highlighted by everyone putting their phones up for Bray.  And Heyman dressing like his old ECW persona.  Thunderbolt Patterson still has him some charisma too.

Back in the arena, they were all introduced and brought onto the stage.  Capped by Heyman coming out to the old ECW theme.  Loud ‘EC-Dub’ chants.

Paul came out in a truck with a big bottle of Prime on the back.  Cole said he’s never seen anyone take to wrestling so quickly.  Err, Kurt Angle?

Returning the favor from last night, Sami was waiting for KO, he said ‘It’s your turn now.’  Owens got a huge pop and eyed Paul’s truck with disdain.  Then disappeared and drove down in a golf kart with ‘KO’ written on a single piece of paper.  He’s wearing ECW-influenced clobber.

And reversed back up the ramp to give Orton a lift.


Backstory: Owens & Orton are united in their dislike of Paul, who cost Orton at Elimination Chamber

Crowd Response: Very into this, probably as much as anything on either night

Match quality: For what was a very good match, Gunther/Zayn its only competition so far

Paul quickly fled outside to leave the other two to go at it.  Cole said it was ‘great strategy.’  No Michael, he’s a heel – it’s sneaky, cowardly…

Anyway, the faces had none of it and went right out after him, introducing him to most of ringside until Orton belly to backed him onto the Spanish announce desk.  Owens then had a go.  And Orton had another.  Orton was basically giving notes on how to do it properly, Owens said, ‘Yeah, I totally see it.’

Paul’s selling was very good too tbf.

Back inside, Paul shoved Owens into Orton but they worked it out and went back to work on the champ.  Orton hit a back elbow, Owens a senton.  At which point they both went for the pin.  Crowd ‘oohed.’

Owens said they could sort it out later; Orton went for an RKO, Owens blocked it and eyed Orton, who kind of acknowledged it was a dick move.  All of which allowed Paul to land a double Buckshot lariat.

Before ramming Owens’ head against the buckle repeatedly.  As a ‘Gatorade’ chant began.  And Owens took over, cannonball crushing the other two in the corner, Paul got his knees up on a senton from the top.  Then hit one to Owens, rolling through into a standing frogsplash on Orton.  For two.

He and Orton now going at it.  Exchange of uppercuts, Orton to his knees, Paul stopping to pose.  And being booed.  Loudly.

Allowing Orton to rake the eyes and fling the champ outside.  Orton hit a pair of lariats to Owens, snap powerslam, draping DDT coming until Paul returned with a big right from the apron, but nearly botched a Buckshot and was caught into a powerslam.  Orton now thinking double draping.  And hitting.

Crowd rising for him as he prepped an RKO.  But couldn’t decide who to target so Paul countered, Orton sent outside as Owens got two on Paul.  Orton caught Owens up top, looking for a superplex, Paul slipped under looking for a powerbomb, Orton landed rights to both till Paul crumpled.

But Paul recovered to head upstairs after Owens got rid of Orton and Owens hit a slam from the top, moonsault, very near fall.  Crowd into these near falls.

Owens got two on Orton via rollup, pop-up countered, Orton countered a stunner into an RKO, another very near fall.  Owens outside now.  As Paul slipped back in with the knucks.  Orton ducked, Paul raked the eyes and knocked him out.

Or not.  Orton kicking out at the very last.

Paul and Owens now brawling across the ropes, Owens left laying again, Paul dragging a dead Orton to his feet, loading up another shot with the knucks; Orton countered via RKO out of nowhere.

All three down, Owens outside.  Orton up first, knucks now in his possession.

He handed them to the ref.  But readied a punt.  Crowd up for it, the Prime mascot pulled Paul to safety.  Then revealed himself to be some streamer.  He barked – literally – at Orton.  And swore a lot.  So Orton barked back at him then RKO’d him onto the announce desk (both desks remain intact btw).

Allowing Paul to send him to the ringpost before flinging him back in, Orton avoided a Frogsplash, Owens hit a pop-up powerbomb to Paul, stunner to Orton, another very near fall.  Owens dragged up a limp Orton but saw a pop-up countered into an RKO.  Paul sent Orton to the buckle, to the top, Frogsplash on Owens for the win.


Bayley came out to an Egyptian theme, as Isis (I think?), carried by four dudes.  Before her theme kicked in and she walked to the ring.  Iyo brought Damage CTRL with her to the ramp.  And seemed drunk.  Guess her character is she’s unhinged?  The rest of the group headed backstage, this’ll be 1:1.

Bayley got a big reaction when announced.  Loud chants.


Backstory: Sky and the rest of Damage CTRL booted Bayley out of the group after she won the women’s Rumble

Crowd Response: Really into it by the end as this built and built and built to a gripping finale for which they absolutely exploded like they haven’t for any other match so far

Match quality: Fantastic.  Blew everything else (both nights) out of the water

Bayley quickly took Iyo down, the heel headed outside but raced back in and stomped the foot before sending Bayley outside.  That old ‘Hey Bayley’ chant has started – made Bayley giggle.

Things heating up as they brawled outside.  It continued back inside, Bayley avoiding a handspring but taking a dropkick.  Hitting back with a neckbreaker into the ropes, tope through them, Sky down outside.

Sky kicked out at two after being sent back in.  Things right back out though, where Iyo avoided a dropkick under the bottom rope and cranked on Bayley’s previously injured leg.  Before stomping away back inside.  Bayley got a boot up twice but Sky caught a third and hit a dragon screw in the corner.

Then a stomp out of a cazadora for two.

But was tripped off the apron then flung over among the timekeepers.  And caught attempting a dive, powerslammed down onto the mats.  Bagging Bayley two back inside.  Rights in the corner until the ref dragged her away.

Then taking Iyo on her shoulders, into a spinning sideslam.  Nice move.  For two.  Bayley heading upstairs but nailed with a big right, landing badly on her knee then taking a springboard dropkick and landing outside.

Where Iyo followed via moonsault.  And stopped to pose.

Back inside, a series of standing switches ended with a Bayley sunset bomb into the buckle, inside cradle for two.  Bayley sent to the apron but fighting back until being dragged back in by the waist, bridging German, Iyo rolling through into another, very near fall.  Very nice sequence.

Both down.

Iyo to the top, Bayley knees up on a moonsault but worsening her knee in the process, crowd chanting for her as she clambered to the top, diving elbow missed, into the crossface, Bayley sliding her weight to bag two and break the hold but taken right back down into it.

Desperately crawling for the ropes, nearly there but dragged right back center, into an STF until elbowing free and hitting Bayley to Belly for a near fall.  Sky tried to beg off then took a cheap shot and cackled.

Until Bayley popped up with a big smack.  Iyo reciprocated, big fist fight, Iyo countering Bayley to Bayley into a cradle for two, inverted backbreaker, Sky to the top, moonsault hit, Bayley out at 2.9.

Crowd loud now as Sky looked distraught, series of rights, standing moonsault, one from the second rope, now one from the top but Bayley moved and hit Roseplant, Iyo somehow escaped out to land on her feet, crazy athleticism, but ran into a lariat.

Bayley pulling herself up in the ropes, crowd to their feet, belly to back, Bayley upstairs once more, big diving elbow, Roseplant, win.

Crowd exploded.  As this match warranted.


Snoop returned with the Eagles’ cheerleaders to announce the attendance.  And rev up the crowd for the main event.

Cody then got a massive entrance – dramatic music as banners with his emblem appeared on the screen and he came up from the ramp with a skull mask and Brandi appeared, getting a pop which she seemed genuinely pleased by.

His theme then kicked in, huge cheer, pep talk from his wife, here we go.  Seems this is going long.  Very tough act to follow that last match.  Crowd seriously into Cody here.

Roman got a grand entrance too with drummers, an orchestra and a choir.  Like last night, they set off a ton of fireworks as he held the belt up.  Cole set the scene as far as his historic reign – bettered only by Sammartino, Backlund & Hogan.  And listed all the guys he’s beaten.  This feels like a really big deal.  Massive spectacle.

Fantastic job on the intros.  Samantha’s amazing.


Stips: Bloodline Rules

Backstory: Rhodes looks to finish his story of winning the championship his dad never did, after being cheated out of it at last year’s event

Crowd Response: Wild, totally into this from start to finish

Match quality: Superb, incredibly dramatic, loads of twists and turns, some might say all those legends returning takes away from Cody a little, debatable I guess, crowd loved it all though

Crowd loud just for the bell being rung, vivid ‘Cody’ chants, not a hint of last night’s boos.  They went face to face, crowd getting louder.  Roman skirting as Cody forced him to the corner for the break.  Reigns smug before elbowing free of a waistlock.  Headlock, whip off before running right through Rhodes with his shoulder.

Cody quickly back to his feet, another break bringing the crowd to their feet.  Cody headlock now, whipped off, duck under, drop-down uppercut, avoiding a charge as Roman hit the ringpost hard.

And crumpled outside.  So Cody took advantage of the rules and went after some goodies.  Table time.  Roman flew in with a dropkick and slid the table right back under.  To loud boos.  That’s nice heel work.

Rhodes reversed a whip, Roman crashed the steps before being flung back in.  But hightailing it right back out, frustrating Cody who reached out to drag him back in but took a kendo stick to the face.  And the back.  Several times.

Then ducked a wild swing and grabbed the weapon.  But missed a charging shot, though got a boot up in the corner, bulldog out, figure four coming, Roman screaming in pain, trying to break the grip and finally resorting to raking the eyes.

Hobbling away before launching angry stomps.  Then sending Cody to the buckle before flinging him outside.  And into the crowd.  Where Cody countered a suplex into one of his own before bringing the champ back to ringside.  And to the ring itself.

But was caught into a powerbomb out of a disaster kick, Reigns dropping afterwards, both down.

Reigns up first, snap suplex, cover, barely one.  He choked Cody in the ropes and yelled he was going to send Cody ‘to Hollywood with the rest of them, this is my company you lil bitch!’

He grabbed a guillotine, Cody down before fighting to his feet, boot to the gut, Reigns countered into a Perfect Plex for two.  Slowing things down as he beat Rhodes in one corner, then the next, series of aggressive lariats until Cody raced out of the corner with a superkick, exchange of superkicks and big boots until synchronized lariats left both down once more.

Yay/boo rights as they reached their feet, more aggressive as they went, flurry from Cody, avoiding a corner charge, snap powerslam, Cody firing up, disaster kick, Reigns out at two.  Cutter caught by Roman into CrossRhodes for a very near fall.

A frustrated Reigns noting ‘That move sucks!  That move don’t beat nobody!’

Superman coming, missing, Dusty jabs from Rhodes, bionic elbow, things heading outside now, Cody clearing the announce table until being nailed with a low blow.  And powerbombed down through the desk.  Flung back in, Superman Punch, very near fall.  Didn’t get much of a response from the crowd.

Another one coming, Cody countered with a shot to the gut, cutter, 2.5.  Reigns struggling to his feet, Cody firing up, CrossRhodes hooked, Roman desperately fighting free with a knee to the head, Cody countering out of a Rock Bottom, hitting a spear, another very near fall.

CrossRhodes coming, hit, a second coming when Jimmy Uso appeared out of nowhere with a superkick.  Superman landed as Jey’s music hit and he came to brawl with his brother on the ramp.  And spear him off it through a table.

Distracting Reigns who got rolled up for a near fall but came back with a Spear, Cody’s shoulder just up in time, Roman yelling at the ref, crowd really popped for that sequence.  Roman going back to the guillotine, being driven through the ropes to break the hold, where Cody took a big run up and speared Roman through the barricade.

TiA from the crowd.  Cole agreed.

Reigns sent back in, Cody firing up, CrossRhodes hooked, hit, through into a second, and a third, when Solo appeared with a Samoan Spike.  And placed Roman’s limp body on Cody’s.  Shoulder up again at the last split-second.

Solo remaining in the ring, shots from the mount, another Spike before holding Cody for a Spear.  He kicked out again.  And John Cena raced to the ring.  Series of rights sending Solo outside, FU to Reigns, one for Sikoa onto the Spanish Announce Desk.

Which brought the Rock out.  A wary Cena watching him walk the aisle.  They did manage to mute Rock’s swears tonight.  Those two went face-to-face, ‘Holy shit!’ from the crowd, Cena dumped his tee and got ready to fight.

Did ‘You can’t see me’ and took a Rock Bottom.  What a dumbass.

Rock then prepared to whip Cody with his belt as the Shield music hit.  Long wait until Seth Rollins appeared in the old Shield gear with a chair.  But was immediately wiped out by Roman.  Tonight hasn’t done Seth a lot of favors.

Rock again preparing to whip Cody.  When the gong sounded.  Lights went down.  And the crowd went ape.

It sounded again, he appeared behind Rock who about shit.  And took a chokeslam.  Lights down again, Taker gone, Cody still down, Reigns on his feet, crowd in a lull now after such a frenzied few minutes.

Reigns readying a chair shot until spotting Seth returning to his feet.  And nailing him instead.  Then readying a Spear for cody, who countered into CrossRhodes, through into a second, cover, win.

Crowd went wild.  This was epic.  Even Samantha was clearly emotional as the crowd sang Cody’s song.  Brandi returned to celebrate with her husband.  And a ton of babyfaces came out to join them.  Including a recovered Cena.  And Randy Orton, cool seeing those two again.  Punk out too, Cody’s mom in for a big hug.  He presented her with the belt to a big cheer.

Cole summarised the whole journey: leaving WWE disgruntled, returning as a superstar to do the one thing his father couldn’t.  ‘Dammit, I love professional wrestling!’

Cody took a mic to address the crowd.  Who serenaded him as he teared up.  He said he’s surrounded by greatness in the ring and the stadium.  There are two people he’d never have made it back to WWE without, he wants them to come out – Bruce Prichard and HHH.  He hugged Prichard and shook with Hunter before finally hugging as the Game spoke into his ear.

Then finally raised his arm for another cheer.  Before Zayn and Orton took him on their shoulders.  The announcers have done a great job laying out here and just letting the moment be.

He went out and hugged Cole before shaking with the others.  Then returned to the ring as everyone left to give him his moment.  He stopped Seth to shake his hand.  Then posed as they set off half a ton of pyro.

But will he ever get his revenge over MJF?  Bet he won’t sleep tonight over that.  Congrats dude.


So last night I said I liked the slower pace, emphasis and all that.  But tonight started very slowly, too slowly – lots of long periods with not enough action.  Until really kicking in from Knight/Styles onwards.  Easily a better card than last night.  Superb in fact by the end.


  • Paul vs Owens vs Orton
  • Bayley vs Iyo
  • Reigns vs Cody

Thanks for reading.  Hope you enjoyed the show and have a great week.

Paul Hemming
Paul Hemminghttps://h00kedon.weebly.com/
Paul Hemming got into AEW during the pandemic, lives in Liverpool, England, and is a huge Liverpool fan, Playstation player and history lover.

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