WWE WrestleMania 37 – Night 1: Reviews, Results & Realities
An Emotional Welcome
As we begin the biggest show in the ThunderDome era of professional wrestling, Mr. McMahon welcomes the fans back to the arena. Mr. McMahon tells the WWE Universe that the fans are what kept professional wrestling alive within the pandemic and thanked the universe for their passion and their presence. We then cut to a passionate performance of “America The Beautiful” by the lovely Bebe Rexha. It’s time to get into the show!
Just as we are beginning the event, it is announced that the event would be put on hold due to a rain delay. This is the first time in WWE history that a PPV has been put on hold due to a rain delay, and we get to see WWE at their biggest show in a position that they thrive in – stalling for time. When WWE is stalling for time, they are at their peak (ie. Kurt Angle in The Shield, Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles at TLC 2017, etc.) WWE stalled with an exorbitant amount of promos and interview segments. The promos lasted for around 12 minutes before WWE finally kicked off their first match.
Well, at least we got the imagery of Samoa Joe and Michael Cole doing poncho commentary.
Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan Introduce WrestleMania
The most confusing and undeniably worst pairing for WrestleMania hosts in the history of professional wrestling began the night with a painfully long and uncomfortable promo. I was very excited to see Titus O’Neil showcased in his hometown of Tampa Bay, but there was a lack of chemistry between the two hosts that made the segment uncomfortable. The live crowd reacted very poorly to Hogan’s portion of the speech, but WWE muted the crowd microphones during his portion of the speech. Very interesting start… but let’s just get to the first match.
WWE Championship Match: Bobby Lashley (c.) vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre makes his entrance and kicks off the first match with his typical kilted sword entrance. Neither McIntyre nor Lashley’s entrances were given special WrestleMania entrances. Despite this, these guys look like absolute stars and I was very excited for this match.
Lashley and McIntyre start off with a lock-up, leading to some hard-hitting action. McIntyre landed some hard shoulder tackles, and Lashley retorted with some intense suplexes and strikes. It is back and forth between these both for the majority of this match-up. The action eventually spills to the outside where they are tossing each other into every inch of barricade they could find.
The action moves back into the ring. Later on, McIntyre lands three Future Shock DDTs in a row, but that wasn’t enough to put The Almighty away. McIntyre locked in a beautiful-looking Kimura Lock (shades of Brock Lesnar.) Drew then went for a Claymore but MVP at ringside distracted McIntyre causing him to stumble a bit. Drew then attempted the Claymore again but Lashley managed to reverse it and lock in the Hurt Lock. The referee called for the bell and ended the match in favor of Bobby Lashley. Bobby Lashley retains the WWE Championship in 18:19.
Walker’s Words: This match was very good. I did not have very high standards for this one, and Bobby Lashley managed to pull off a victory. This was a worthwhile watch for me!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Tag Team Turmoil Match: Naomi & Lana vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Tamina vs. Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott vs. Carmella & Billie Kay
Coming up next, we have a #1 Contender’s Match. The winners of this tag team turmoil match would go on to face Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship on night two of WrestleMania 37.
We start off the match with Naomi and Lana making their entrances fully glowed and gimmicked up. They will be the first two opponents for turmoil entrants Carmella and Billie Kay (two individuals that I did not know were teaming together.) These two teams started off with some quick-paced action, but it was quickly halted when Billie Kay pinned Lana with a roll-up two minutes into the action. Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott then made their entrances and eliminated Carmella and Billie Kay two minutes later.
Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott awaited the arrivals of Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose when suddenly, Mandy Rose slipped and fell on her way down to ringside. She recovered smoothly, but it was definitely a comedic moment for the night. Admittedly, it might have been the most interesting thing in the match. It took five minutes for Riott and Morgan to dispose of Brooke and Rose. Finally, Natalya and Tamina make their entrances (as the final team to enter this match.) Natalya and Tamina eliminate The Riott Squad after Tamina lands a Superfly Splash. Tamina and Natalya earn a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match in 14:05.
Walker’s Words: The crowd was not interested in this match at all. Watching this match reminded me just how poorly booked the women’s division in WWE truly is. Despite consisting of incredibly talented and passionate professional wrestlers, there has been no interest drummed up for this match within a buildup. I thought it was really strange that Naomi and Lana were built up so heavily just to lose to the thrown-together team of Billie Kay and Carmella. Furthermore, I’m happy Tamina finally got a victory at WrestleMania in her career. Despite how I may feel about the team of Natalya and Tamina, I like them much more than Nia Jax. Therefore, I hope Natalya and Tamina win the championships tomorrow.
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
This match started off with some high-octane action. Cesaro immediately went for his patented swing multiple times at the beginning of the match-up, but Rollins managed to fight out of it. This match felt like it was twenty minutes of incredible professional wrestling despite only being less than 12 minutes. There was so much happening in this match that it made it feel like it had to have been longer than it was. This is an incredible compliment.
Near the beginning of the match, Rollins landed his patented superplex transitioned into a falcon arrow – absolutely beautiful. Rollins also hit an incredible corkscrew splash. It’s a simple move, but it impressed me greatly. Cesaro transitioned into a UFO spin and showcased his best “Look, Ma! No Hands!” maneuver. Rollins crashed to the mat after that – it looked brutal. Cesaro then lifted Seth Rollins up for the big swing and swung Rollins twenty-four times before landing a Neutralizer and pinning Rollins in the middle of the ring. Cesaro wins in 11:27.
Walker’s Words: This match could be a Match of the Night contender. Easily a top three match! I absolutely love Cesaro getting the rub, and I’m very excited for his future. Rollins looks strong in defeat, and the fans are re-energized after that average women’s tag team match. Absolutely go out of your way to witness this one.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (c.) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
It’s time for one of my most anticipated matches. Tonight, we get the debut of the 7’4″ Omos.
This match may not have been work rate heavy, but it was definitely worthy of a WrestleMania timeslot. AJ Styles started off this match-up against Kofi Kingston. The New Day is trying to prove their dominance as a “legitimate” tag team with legitimate chemistry. The New Day cut off AJ Styles from one half of the ring for the majority of the match. The camera keeps cutting toward Omos at ringside (a little too much.) Finally, Omos gets the hot tag. Omos lays out Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston for minutes. The match ends with Omos laying the smack down on Woods with a huge spinebuster and a pinfall in 9:46. AJ Styles and Omos are the new WWE RAW Tag Team Champions, and AJ Styles is now a Grand Slam champion in WWE!
Walker’s Words: This was everything I expected this match to be and that is a good thing because my expectations were very high! I think Omos looks like a huge star, and his alliance with AJ Styles has legitimized him by giving him consistent screentime. I’m very happy with what I’ve seen, and I hope to see Omos wrestle more often alongside AJ Styles.
Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
Shane McMahon kicks off with his entrance. It’s always exciting to see Shane McMahon make his trademark entrance, even if he looks absolutely gassed just from shucking and jiving down the ramp. Braun Strowman makes his entrance down to ringside and attempts to get into the cage, but is stopped by Shane McMahon who is holding the cage door shut. As Braun is trying to rip the door open, Jaxson Ryker and Elias appear and attack Strowman with steel chairs. McMahon is suddenly very interested in opening the door and allowing Strowman inside. Strowman is tossed into the ring, along with some steel chairs.
Shane McMahon lays in the greatest jabs in professional wrestling history before Strowman takes over. There are a lot of stellar moments from this match-up, including a spectacular coast-to-coast from Shane McMahon. This match was actually much better than anyone ever could have expected. Mid-match interference comes at the hands of Jaxson Ryker and Elias who begin to climb the cage in an attempt to help Shane McMahon. Strowman manages to fend them off, but Shane McMahon is already climbing to the outside of the ring. Instead of chasing Shane to the outside, Braun grabs Shane’s hand through the cage and rips the entire cage apart, and throws Shane back into the ring.
Wow. That was absolutely incredible. Shane begins to attempt another escape before Strowman attacks him. Instead of dragging him down from the ropes, Strowman pushes Shane to the top of the cage. What’s going to happen? Braun Strowman managed to toss Shane McMahon off the top of the steel cage. Strowman climbs down the cage, lands a powerslam, and pins Shane McMahon in 11:28.
Walker’s Words: This match beat all expectations. I absolutely despised the build-up to this match. Everything ranging from the random chase scenes to the weird slime debacle killed any interest I had in this match. Braun Strowman said he was fighting for all of the people who had ever been called ‘stupid,’ despite doing nothing to ever prove McMahon wrong. Build-up aside, this match was very entertaining and it is memories like this that I will not lose as a wrestling fan.
Bad Bunny & Damien Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison
Fresh off the debut of their new single “Hey Hey, Hop Hop,” The Miz and John Morrison are facing off against the hottest musician of the year Bad Bunny and his friend Damien Priest.
Miz and Morrison made their debuts flanked by an audience of bunnies, doing a live performance of their aforementioned single. This felt a little uncomfortable, but it was over quickly. Bad Bunny made his entrance on a semi-truck (a reference to one of his latest albums and tours.) Damian Priest was wearing an incredible purple get-up that I adored (purple is definitely my color.)
Priest and Miz start off the match together, but The Miz calls for Bad Bunny to be tagged into the match. Bunny tags in, and lands some impressive shots on The Miz. Miz became more frustrated as time went on and started to dominate the match. Bunny would have his moments of glory, but The Miz would take control once more. Bad Bunny managed to make a tag to Damian Priest and Priest went crazy with the hot tag. Bunny even managed to hit a freaking CANADIAN DESTROYER on the outside. This was the most impressive performance of a celebrity in a professional wrestling capacity. Bad Bunny and Damien Priest even hit stereo falcon arrows for a two count. The match ends with Bad Bunny pinning The Miz post-crossbody for the three-count in 15:02.
Walker’s Words: I did not expect this match to deliver in the way that it did. There was certainly intrigue built around Bad Bunny before this match, but the execution was absolutely flawless. I was expecting Bad Bunny to be lost and look confused out there in the ring, but for the most part, this man did not look out of place whatsoever. Was this a five-star match? No! Did this match over deliver? Yes, sir! I absolutely adored everything I witnessed in this one.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Sasha Banks (c.) vs. Bianca Belair
Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair are making history as the first two black women to main event WrestleMania. This is absolutely a monumental accomplishment, and I would not feel right if I did not address it.
Starting off this match, the emotions are already prominent. Bianca Belair begins to tear up and is close to crying. Sasha Banks starts to become emotional as well. They manage to shake off the emotional nerves and start off the action. Banks and Belair begin with a lock-up and some shoves. It’s back and forth between these two. Sasha Banks hits her patented suicide dive, and it looked very clean.
This is a match that you should go out of your way to watch, as my descriptions can not do it justice. Some notable spots from this one include a 450 splash from Bianca to Sasha, a beautifully smooth KOD, and a brutal hair whip that left a mark on Sasha Banks. Bianca Belair pinned Sasha Banks clean after the aforementioned KOD in 17:16. Bianca Belair is the new WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Walker’s Words: This was an emotional, captivating, and beautiful match. Sasha Banks made Bianca Belair look incredible. Bianca Belair is a made star, and that is all I can say about this contest. Go out of your way to watch it. What a great way to cap off WrestleMania 37’s first night!
Overall, this show was incredibly easy to digest. It is nights like this that remind me of why I am a wrestling fan. I absolutely adored every moment of this show. The only drag might have been the women’s tag team match, but that was a nice breather after that intense opener. Everything on this show felt like it mattered, and I was fully invested for that reason. Check out this showcase below of the top WrestleMania moments! This is the most fulfilled I’ve felt from a wrestling show in over a year. I’m so happy to see crowds back.