Last night’s WrestleMania Backlash was sponsored by the upcoming Zack Snyder zombie heist movie Army of the Dead. The film stars Dave Bautista, the greatest wrestler in the history of the company, so the crossover was natural enough except that “The Animal” couldn’t be there himself to celebrate the triumph of corporate synergy that is having a movie starring a famous wrestler sponsor a wrestling show, but his friends—a bunch of zombies—were more than happy to visit the WWE ThunderDome in his stead.
— WWE (@WWE) May 17, 2021
Unlike AEW’s Kong vs. Godzilla match that was a team of bears vs. a Tarzan/dinosaur combination, WWE’s Zombie Lumberjack Match Presented By Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, In Select Theaters and Coming Soon to Netflix actually went all in, as the shambling zombie horde did their best to reach into the ring for the delicious brains therein, gathering in hordes at the ring posts to try to get at someone on the top rope. Any questions one could ask about this set-up, like “why would The Miz and Damien Priest continue with the wrestling match given the zombie situation at ringside,” are completely moot: WWE has put on meaningless matches during an apocalypse for almost a year and a half now, so why stop for zombies?
A lot of people didn’t like this match—that sounds like a strawman construct, but it’s not. I saw so many tweets about how bad this was for the wrestlers involved, for wrestling, and so on that it made me feel like I had lost my way a little in just how much I loved it. But then I woke up this morning and remembered that wrestling fans are frequently wrong about wrestling, and this is one of those times. WWE, more than any other wrestling promotion, has struggled with how to make their product feel like something more than the dull, repetitive gruel that it so frequently is, and they did so in a match that featured The Miz.
WWE's Zombie Lumberjack Match
The first good lumberjack match in wrestling history.
- Zombies ate The Miz.
- Zombies ate John Morrison.
- Dave Bautista sending zombies to WWE is like a long-game form of revenge for his losing his retirement match.
- The Army of the Dead branding around the WWE Thunderdome spared me from having to look at 100 or so blank faces staring into their computer monitor.
- Zombie lumberjacks were completely unbiased.
- Damien Priest *did his cool guy pose* while Miz was getting eaten in the middle of the ring, in case you're wondering about the state of wrestler solidarity in the face of increased fan interest in the unionization of wrestling.
- Tig Notaro wasn't greenscreened into the match to help Priest out of a jam.
- One of the zombie lumberjacks was dressed like Elvis, none of the zombie lumberjacks were dressed like lumberjacks.
- Commentary before, during, and after the match was completely dismissive of the real danger posed by the zombies at ringside, and of the deaths of two long-tenured WWE Superstars. How about some realism, WWE?
- No gore. Thanks, PG wrestling.