It was symbolic that WrestleMania 37 It opened late and finished spectacularly.
Just over a year after WWE stopped performing in front of live crowds due to the pandemic, WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, marked the company’s triumphant return to normalcy, but only after a brief weather delay. Extending the night did not affect the energy of the crowd, which helped carry the show. And the match of the night was the main event, where Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship. This was the rare type of fight that put the spotlight on both artists, giving Belair a distinctive victory and showcasing Banks’ brilliance.
Belair and Banks told an outstanding story of a champion desperately seeking to hold on to her title against a hungry opponent seeking to make her mark. The victory consolidates Belair among the WWE elite, a direct result of Banks using his star power to help create a new, larger-than-life force in Belair.
The whole night was solid, even though there was too long a break in the action following Braun Strowman’s victory in the cage match against Shane McMahon. But a Wrestlemania In front of a hot crowd it just felt good, set the table for the second night of Sunday, and will be carried away forever by his momentous main event.
Here are the results of the opening night of WrestleMania 37:
– WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre
– Natalya and Tamina won the tag team match, putting them in a tag team title match on the second night.
– Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins
– AJ Styles and Omos defeated The New Day to win Raw tag titles.
– Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage Match.
– Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated The Miz and John Morrison.
– Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks to win the Raw Women’s Championship.
And here are my conclusions:
After a fantastic main event, Bianca Belair is the new Raw Women’s Champion.
This was the correct call for the main event of the night. In the WWE arena, winning the Royal Rumble match is supposed to deserve a chance to close WrestlemaniaSo having Belair, who won the Rumble, challenging Banks, made sense. Banks has also been the star of WWE for the past year, adding value to every segment he’s had on. Raw, Slapand NXT. She saved some of her best work for WrestleMania 37, selling for Belair to the point where it became impossible not to believe in her. Banks ends his title reign in fashion, helping to build a new star in Belair.
In addition to the Banks sales, Belair did an outstanding job running as the underdog. He found his way out of the Banks Statement, responding to Banks every step of the way. The match also featured Banks as a proud champion, fighting with every inch of her spirit to maintain her title. Following a KOD, Belair pinned Banks, ending Wrestlemania in a spectacular way.
Belair is now beginning her career as the Raw Women’s Champion (a title that, along with the SmackDown Women’s Champion, has long been due to be renamed WWE Champion or Universal Champion). She can step into the ring and is extremely charismatic, and now she needs the right first opponent to establish herself as a champion.
In somewhat annoying, Bobby Lashley retained the WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre.
Lashley won the match after locking McIntyre in the Hurt Lock. McIntyre was unable to break control, which eventually led to the referee’s arrest. Michael Cole sold the narrative that McIntyre fainted, which was not the case, and Lashley’s title reign will be extended.
It’s a surprise that McIntyre didn’t get the belt back. He helped lead WWE for the past year as the main babyface in Raw, and this was a chance for him to win in front of a live crowd. Instead, Lashley held back – and cleanly. This presents a great opportunity for both men, for McIntyre to eventually put himself back in position to regain the title and for Lashley to have a dominant one-year reign as champion.
My enthusiasm for that prospect dimmed later in the evening. While the broadcast team was reviewing the night’s highlights, Michael Cole noted that Lashley looks unstoppable and is ready to hold the belt for a long time. That could be the kiss of death for a WWE champion, so we’ll see if he can leave on Monday. Raw with the belt.
BARRASSO: Friends & Foes: Lashley meets McIntyre for WWE title
After the Lashley-McIntyre match, Bayley had a short behind-the-scenes segment with the New World Order and Titus O’Neil. There is no question that Bayley is charismatic, but it is amazing that there is no place for her on the card.
Outside of a brief feud with Bianca Belair, WWE’s creative team seems to be unsure how to introduce Bayley when she doesn’t have a championship or isn’t on a show with Sasha Banks. Considering that Bayley is one of the best in the world at her craft, as well as coming off one of her best years as a performer, it’s hard to believe she doesn’t have a bigger role in Wrestlemania.
The tag team match served as a reflection of WWE’s struggle to build a consistent middle card in their women’s division.
Natalya and Tamina won the match, giving them a tag title match on night two of WrestleMania 37 against Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. But Natalya and Tamina are already established entities, and both have likely reached their limit in WWE. So why not take this opportunity to build Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott?
Wrestlemania It is a massive platform to build new stars. That opportunity presented itself here, but it didn’t happen. Morgan and Riott, who received a solid reaction from the crowd throughout the game, winning the tag team titles on Sunday had the potential to be a star-building moment.
Seven years after it looked like he was ready for a singles career, Cesaro had another Wrestlemania moment.
Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins in an entertaining match. The turning point came after Cesaro transitioned from a Rollins stomp to a European uppercut, then ignited the crowd with the Cesaro Swing and a neutralizer for the win.
The crowd answered for Cesaro. Unbelievably, this is his first singles match in a Wrestlemania. He seemed poised for a great run after winning The Andre Giant Memorial Battle Royal in WrestleMania XXX, but that race failed. Since then, he has worked on tag teams and has given life to half the card.
Without a crowd again until the end of this summer, the odds are still against Cesaro, but hopefully this is the start of a significant streak. Would benefit from a move to Raw, where he could work on a hot show with Bobby Lashley.
His screen time was quick, but it was very meaningful to see Big E introduce Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods before their match for the tag title. The New Day has reached heights unlike any other group in WWE history, and it was great to see a brief reunion on screen, especially in Wrestlemania.
As for the match, AJ Styles and Omos defeated Kingston and Woods to win the Raw Tag Titles. This is Styles’ first career as a tag champion in WWE, and Omos’s first career with a WWE title. They make a fantastic team: Styles is among the most elite artists in the world and Omos is rightly portrayed as an unstoppable giant.
Omos destroyed Kingston and Woods. Personally, I would have asked him to nail Woods for the win instead of Kingston, who needs to be better protected as a former WWE Champion. Omos made the pin while standing with one foot on Kingston’s chest, shades of the Ultimate Warrior pinning Randy Savage in WrestleMania VII—quickly establishing himself as an important piece in the WWE landscape.
The other team match of the night pitted Bad Bunny and Damian Priest against The Miz and John Morrison.
This was the Styles / Omos match backwards. Unlike Omos, who waited in the apron for Styles to do the tag, Bunny got most of the action in the ring as Priest watched. The narrative was Bunny’s resistance, as he received punishment from Miz and Morrison, but continued to fight.
Bunny reached all his high places, including a Canadian Destroyer, and was especially fortunate to work with someone as talented as Morrison, who sold for him convincingly. The finale came after Bunny hit Miz with a tall crossbody, lighting up the crowd and winning.
Besides a fun crossover of celebrities, this partnership has also been beneficial to Priest. In the future, he would be a perfect fit for the United States title.
Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman created a show around name calling. If you’re wondering, I don’t know what this was doing in a Wrestlemania card, either.
One year after winning the Universal Championship in WrestleMania 36, Strowman defeated McMahon in a steel cage. This match featured a callback to the greatest hits, from outside interference (from Elias and Jaxson Ryker), as well as a coast to coast from McMahon. The action accelerated when Strowman opened a piece of the cage to prevent McMahon from winning, and the climax occurred when Strowman threw McMahon from the top of the cage into the ring.
Strowman deserves credit for turning this game into something, but going forward, he also deserves a better program.
Night one of WrestleMania 37 built even more anticipation for the second night of Sunday. There were highlights, but none more magical than the match that saw Belair win the title from Banks.
Overall, Sunday’s undercard, which includes Kevin Owens v. Sami Zayn, Asuka v. Rhea Ripley, Fiend v. Randy Orton and the main event of Roman Reigns v. Edge v. Daniel Bryan, is the better of the two. But opening night set an entertaining pace, and the crowd served as a secret ingredient for a successful show.
This night will be remembered forever in the wrestling tradition for its main event. As champion, Belair will get the most attention, and rightly so, but the brilliance of this match is a testament to Sasha Banks’ skill, psychology and storytelling.
On the largest possible platform, Banks and Belair used WrestleMania 37 to engrave their names in the history of the Exhibition of Immortals.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.