Titus O’Neil, Hulk Hogan, and WWE welcome the WWE Universe to WrestleMania.
It is only fitting that WWE’s granddaddy event of the year kicks off with WWE Chairman Vincent J McMahon and the entire WWE roster welcoming the WWE Universe back before sharing in gorgeous Bebe Rexha’s animating performance of “America the Beautiful” with the loud crowd at Raymond James Stadium.
Although the weather-delayed Wrestlemania for a few minutes, WrestleMania was formally back in business with the hosts’ arrival, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and Titus O’Neil, who prepared the WWE Universe for WrestleMania to run wild on them (vintage Hogan), beginning with the WWE Championship Match!
Thoughts: Vince’s ‘Welcome to Wrestlemania’ was legendary, considering this is the first time in over a year that the crowd is back. I am incredibly excited to hear the real crowd response today.
Bobby Lashley Vs. Drew McIntyre – WWE Championship Match
Bobby Lashley plunged Drew McIntyre to retain the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium in the first match in front of the live crowd in more than a year.
Lashley immediately imposed his will in the large struggle behind a deliberate pace. Still, The Scottish Warrior delved deep into his stock to battle back, busting out some unusual yet exciting mat wrestling, including several kimuras and armbars to target Lashley’s left arm.
Bobby Lashley then had his Hurt Lock suffocating Drew after several earlier failed attempts. Despite energetic attempts to escape, Drew McIntyre had nowhere to go and was unconscious, prompting a referee stoppage. The match ended in 19 minutes.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Match Review: 4.5/5. W.O.W.! One of the best starts to a Wrestlemania. This was 19 minutes of brutal ass-kicking. It could’ve gone either way, but I am not complaining. Bobby Lashley deserves the gold as much as Drew McIntyre. The end guarantees a rematch, probably at the next PPV.
Tag Team Turmoil Match to earn a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match at Night 2 of WrestleMania
Naomi and Lana were the first teams in the fight, followed by Billie Kay and Carmella. Carmella and Billie Kay’s team eliminated their opponents, with Kay getting the pin thanks to Carmella’s support. The Untouchable One’s interference didn’t pay off against The Riott Squad, as the referee caught them in the act, leaving Kay open to a top-rope senton from the mighty Ruby Riott.
Up next to enter the frays were Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose, who put up a lively effort, but my favorite Liv Morgan reversed a pinfall attempt after a Swanton by Brooke to retain The Riott Squad in the fight. The Riott Squad’s luck ran out when Tamina and Natalya stepped into the ring. The pair gained the upper hand by connecting the Hart Attack on Riott. Still, instead of locking on her trademark Sharpshooter, Natalya asked Tamina to the top rope, where she came crashing down on Riott with a crushing splash to get the win and the title opportunity. The match ended in 14 minutes.
Winner: Natalya and Tamina
Match Review: 2.75/5. It was an average match with a predictable end. The match wasn’t build up properly, and so my interest was low. I am happy for Natalya, though.
Cesaro Vs. Seth Rollins
Cesaro knocked off Seth Rollins in his first-ever major singles match at the Granddaddy of them all, seizing his WrestleMania moment. Cesaro turned Rollins into a merry-go-round, but Seth Rollins’ earlier attacks on his arm forced Xesaro to halt after nine trips with the Swing. Cesaro again spun him a dizzying 20+ times before planting him with the Neutralizer for the splendid victory — his first at WrestleMania in more than half a decade. The match ended in 11 minutes.
Match Review: 4.75/5. This is the best under-12 minutes match inside a wrestling ring that I’ve seen as a fan. W.O.W.! What a crowd response. Cesaro deserves it.
AJ Styles and Omos Vs. The New Day
The debutant Omos predictably took out out 11-time champions, The New Day, nearly singlehandedly. Omos exercised his domination over The New Day, wrenching Woods’ spine across his bulky knee, then squashing Kingston with a backbreaker. Omos then pinned Kingston with one foot. The match ended under 10 minutes.
Winner: AJ Styles and Omos
Match Review: 2.5/5. An average match with a predictable end. Omos looked dominating in this fight, and the title change was expected the second this match was announced.
Braun Strowman Vs. Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match)
Faced with the conclusion of a conflict that started over Braun Strowman’s slight at the lack of a WWE Title opportunity and mutated into a profoundly personal rivalry, Shane appeared to encounter almost instant regret, trying to dodge The Monster Among Men from entering the cage. Later, Shane-O-Mac again bought time with an unmerciful toolbox strike to Braun Strowman, but it was only a brief respite.
Finally, Strowman made Shane’s worst fears come true, smoking Shane atop the cage before throwing him to the mat like a bug with a loud thud. Braun then pinned the 51-year-old son of the devil himself after a running power slam. The match ended in 12 minutes.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Match Review: 3.5/5. This match surpassed my expectations with Shane-O-Mac, even at 51, taking dangerous bumps. This match was all about pushing Braun, and the job was adequately done.
I am looking forward to seeing whats’ next for Braun. This should be the last match for Shane as a Wrestler.
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest Vs. The Miz and John Morrison
After being assaulted by John Morrison and The Miz on Monday Night Raw, Bad Bunny arrived at WrestleMania looking for a fight, and man, he got one. The world-famous singer showed out in his first-ever wrestling match, teaming up with Damian Priest to defeat The Miz and John Morrison impressively.
The match ended when Bad Bunny shocked the world by taking out John Morrison with a “Bunny Destroyer (Canadian Destroyer)” on the floor, then tagged back into the match to hit The Miz with an impressive cross-body while The Awesome One was on Priest’s shoulders to pick up a win in his appearance on Wrestlemania and silence The Miz and Morrison. The match ended in 16 minutes.
Winner: Bad Bunny and Damian Priest
Match Review: 4/5. I always have zero expectations from celebrity matches, and I thought that would be an ego-bursting battle. However, I was wrong. Bad Bunny was incredibly impressive in the bout, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The fans popped for everything.
Bianca Belair Vs. Sasha Banks – SmackDown Women’s Championship
As soon as the bell rang, Bianca Belair impressed with an incredible display of strength, grabbing Banks’ tope to the outside and bringing her up the steps before throwing her back in the ring. While ‘The Boss’ responded by rearing her experienced savvy, neither ladies claimed an advantage for long. Sasha Banks’ first miscalculation saw her crash face-first with the post after attempting to use Belair’s braid against her, but Sasha Banks later fired back by dodging a 450 Splash with her double knees. Both dodged each other’s attempts at the K.O.D. and the Backstabber before Bianca Belair one-upped the boss, planting Banks with the K.O.D. The match ended in 17 minutes.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Match Review: 3.75/5. It was a perfect match, with Belair winning the main event in style. The finishing sequence was smart because Banks was pulling on Bianca Belair’s hair, so to have Belair hit her in the stomach with the hair and then executed the K.O.D. Slam was the right way to end the fight.
NYK Rating of WWE Wrestlemania 37 – Night 1: 9/10
Three Stars of the show
- Bianca Belair
- Bobby Lashley
Special mention to Bad Bunny, Seth Rollins, and Sasha Banks. I will be back tomorrow for the Part-2 of Wrestlemania 37. Until then, you can explore 30,000+ other articles on our platform, NYK Daily.
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