Wrestling Review: WWE Wrestlemania 37 (Night 1) (2021)

Wrestlemania is back in business! After more than a year, Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida, will host live attendance for the grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania 37. History will be made in the main event, as Sasha Banks defends her SmackDown Women’s Championship against the winner of the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble, Bianca Belair. Banks has been vocal that she will not let a “rookie” like Belair claim her gold, but Bianca Belair believers herself to be the strongEST, the toughEST, the smartEST and the B-E-S-T of all the WWE. Kicking off the show, Bobby Lashley’s 16 year journey comes to a head, as he walks into Wrestlemania as the All Mighty WWE Champion to face the man who won that same title at last year’s event, Drew McIntyre. These two have been on a collision course for months, and there will be no holding them back from each other as Wrestlemania 37 kicks off.

Also on the card, one of the biggest musical stars in the world today, Bad Bunny, will make his in-ring wrestling debut as he teams with Damien Priest to take on the arrogant duo of The Miz and John Morrison. Shane McMahon has spent the last few months poking fun at Braun Strowman, calling Strowman “Stupid”, but McMahon was arrogant enough to give Strowman the choice of match. Proving McMahon wrong, Strowman has chosen a steel cage, where Shane will not be able to run away from the Monster Among Men. The Raw Tag Team Titles will also be on the line, as the record making duo of Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods of The New Day face the unlikely combination of AJ Styles and his personal Colossus, Omos, in the gigantic Omos’ first ever match for the gold.

Rounding thing off, Cesaro and Seth Rollins will face off one-on-one in Cesaro’s first ever singles match at Wrestlemania in what could be a sleeper hit on the show. Last but not least, the new number one contenders for the Women’s Tag Team Championships will be determined as five teams do battle in a Tag Team Turmoil match, where the winner will face the champions on tomorrow night’s show.

+ Sasha Banks (c) vs Bianca Belair (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship): it was a bold choice to put this in the main event (and the jaded side of me thinks that was solely for Sasha’s benefit, so she can have another ‘history making moment’) but in the end it was well worth it. Bianca Belair is an absolutely can’t-miss star, and whether she won or lost this match, that wasn’t going to change. There was only one major mistake in this match, and ironically it was not even Sasha/Bianca’s mistake to make, but a commentary botch. This was good, and well and truly earned the right to close the show
+ Bad Bunny & Damien Priest vs The Miz & John Morrison: this had no right to be as good as it was. Celebrities in wrestling are usually not good, with maybe Pat McAfee, Floyd Mayweather and Stephen Amell the exceptions, and all three of them are crazy good athletes anyway. Bad Bunny didn’t do too much else aside from kicks and punches, but the other stuff he did all looked great, didn’t make Miz or Morrison look like losers. Damien Priest was probably the weakest part of the match, but hopefully this run with Bad Bunny can elevate him and we can see him in a bigger singles role
+ Cesaro vs Seth Rollins: god I love Cesaro, and anybody who doesn’t after this just doesn’t understand pro wrestling. The story going into this was kind of lame, but Cesaro is one of the best in the world, and Rollins has some flashes of brilliance, and they were both at their absolute best. I loved this match, and I hope this match is not overlooked
+ Bobby Lashley (c) (w/ MVP) vs Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship): these two have been read to tear each other to pieces for weeks, and they again almost came to blows during the rain delay, so from the beginning I was disappointed that this wasn’t a wild sprint. By the end, I was invested, but the delay hurt this match more than any of the others

Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match): the first three quarters of this were garbage. It turned around in that final stretch and finished on an impressive high note, but it’s just more of Shane McMahon taking away a spot from the actual wrestlers on the roster in a story that made no sense. Strowman used to be a monster – “The Monster Among Men” – and now he’s fighting with a 51-year old part timer over being called ‘stupid’
The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) (c) vs AJ Styles & Omos (WWE Raw Tag Team Championships): I have absolutely non idea why, but The New Day played the bad guys here. Styles was obviously the workhorse for his team, but Omos looked good for what he was. This was fine, but nothing special
Lana & Naomi vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott) vs Natalya & Tamina vs Billie Kay & Carmella (No. 1 Contender’s Tag Team Turmoil Match): god almighty this was a trainwreck. The wrestling was not good, there were numerous slips on the entrance ramp and ring ropes, and the announcer got the winner of a particular fall wrong. Liv, Ruby and Dana looked damn fine, though

> the show was delayed for over half an hour due to dangerous weather, but it gave the performers some much needed time to do some improv work, and it really just showed who had good promo skill sbefore WWE’s scripted style (MVP, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins) and who doesn’t (Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, Shane McMahon). It was interesting, if nothing else

Should you watch this event: I was preparing for the worst as the show was delayed, but overall this wasn’t too bad. Avoid the women’s Tag Team Turmoil match as best you can, but seek out Cesaro/Rollins and the main event. The rest are good if you like the guys in it.

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