I got a bunch of stuff on WrestleMania 37, and here is a quick rundown of what I thought of the card across the board. There’s a lot to unpack, and to be honest I don’t have super deep thoughts on every part of the show so some of this is going to be brief. And away we go!
WWE World Title Match: Bobby Lashley (c) vs Drew McIntyre
I was openly rooting for Bobby here and going in I was dreading that this was just a set piece for Drew to win the title back. I really dug this match as it was two big, athletic guys throwing big shots at each other throughout. Big meaty men, slapping meat as Big E would say. And I was overjoyed when Bobby won to retain the title. I was really concerned that just at the point where they finally got people interested in him they were gonna pull the rug out so that Drew could win the title back in front of fans. Needless to say I think they made the right call and not just because of my rooting interest. Breaking up the Hurt Business was still a bad idea, though.
Tag Team Turmoil Match
The winner here got a title shot on night two against Women’s tag champs Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. This match was……yeah………not great. First up Naomi and Lana going out first and getting eliminated first was some garbage. All those months of story building between them and the champs and they’re done first? Come on now. Give Naomi the time she warrants already, will you? And let’s add on that Naomi was needed in there for the next few parts to carry the ring work. Yes it was nice for the Riott Squad to get a decent run in the match but some of that should have been with Naomi in there. Let’s be real the most memorable part of the match was Mandy Rose’s fall coming down the aisle to the ring. I was bummed out about Natalya and Tamina winning but that changed on night two.
Seth Rollins vs Cesaro
I was bummed out over the result of the tag team turmoil match so I wasn’t 100 percent dialed in here. From what I saw they did a great job and did it without needing a melodramatic 30 minutes to do all their moves. Cesaro getting a win in his first Mania singles match is a nice way to go.
RAW tag team title match: New Day vs AJ Styles and Omos
The match was laid out great and did it’s job of setting up Omos to look good. He’s still really green but Kofi, Woods, and Styles did what was necessary to make him look good in there. The man has a bright future for sure. He and AJ winning was what we all knew was happening, now let’s see how they do and congrats to Styles on becoming a grand slam champion.
Braun Strowman vs Shane McMahon
This cage match was exactly what we expected. Braun beats down Shane, Shane tries to escape, Braun breaks something (in this case the cage wall), and boom. It was entertaining for what it was, which is all you can ask for. I figured Shane would win so I was wrong there but good for Braun for getting the W to go a surprising 4-1 in WrestleMania matches.
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs Miz and Morrison
What we were all wondering here was how well Bad Bunny was going to do here, and he did great. To come in off the street, take it serious, and perform at the level he did deserves much respect, and he got that from a lot of people in the business. Miz and Morrison were the perfect guys to work with and they played their roles great. Damian Priest did his part as well and this was a good vehicle to launch his promising career on Raw.
Smackdown Women’s Title Match: Sasha Banks (c) vs Bianca Belair
The match was everything it promised and I can’t say enough about it…..so I gave the floor back to Tonya to do so instead. What she says here is all you need. If you want to hear me talk about it I went on for about 20 minutes on Mindless Musings podcast about it, and you can listen to that here at about the 82 minute mark. I’ll simply add this is just the beginning for Ms. Belair, for whom this was her first pay per view singles match since coming over from NXT. To perform at this level under those circumstances is downright remarkable. And Sasha was great as always.
ON TO NIGHT TWO!!
The Fiend vs Randy Orton
Great entrance for the Fiend, the match action itself wasn’t bad, but that ending, ohh boy…..that’s all I got.
Women’s Tag Team Title Match: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax vs Natalya and Tamina
The disdain I had for the tag team turmoil match the night before slipped away when the crowd started chanting Tamina’s name. Why? Because she deserves it. I am normally not a You Deserve It guy because that usually pertains to things like championships and main events. But for appreciation from the crowd? Hell yes, particularly when there have been people mad on the internet for years because she has a job there. Seriously, what did she do to yall? As for the match itself if we’re gonna keep it real this was actually pretty good, way better than we all thought it would be.
And finally….. Tamina has been there for a decade plus, has been on the road, taken all the bumps, come back from multiple injuries, and all to lose to everyone from reigning champions to whoever the next up and comer was. Along the way she’s gotten a handful of title shots where she had zero chance to win, and that’s counting singles and tag teams. All while raising kids as a single mother. And from all accounts everyone loves her backstage. So if Shayna and Nia were retaining the titles anyway then it’s perfectly fine to give her a moment here when she is likely heading to the home stretch of her career.
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
I wasn’t all the way dialed in for this one, to be honest. From what I saw they played the hits and did well. These two can have a good match together in their sleep so it should be no surprise they had one here. Logan Paul was there for social media engagement and to eat a stunner from Owens, and he played his role fine.
US Title Match: Matt Riddle (c) vs Sheamus
I was all the way here for this one. Sheamus is one of my favorite guys on the roster and he has been cooking this year. He and Riddle beat each other up real good here, and I was happy to see the big man get a W here and the US Title. Sheamus has low key been have a great year in the ring and capturing some gold is a nice addition. From a ring work standpoint this was definitely a top 5 match of the weekend for me.
Intercontinental Title Match: Big E vs Apollo Crews
This was a Nigerian Drum Match, which we had no clue entailed other than it was gonna be some kind of no DQ/weapons situation. Short but good enough match here up until the finish which saw Dabba Kato emerge from the depths of catering to help Apollo win the match and the title, which was a necessity given his gimmick change and that this was his signature match. This match was essentially there to set things up going forward for Apollo, and that they did.
RAW Women’s Title Match: Asuka (c) vs Rhea Ripley
I wasn’t all there for this one, either, as I was saving up my energy for the main event. The parts I remember were just kinda ok. My twitter timeline was mixed, with some people saying it was fine and others trashing it. Throw in the rematch the next night and well, my twitter community is split between people who think Rhea will be fine and those are going to be really skeptical and think this is too much, too soon.
What do I think? I’ve seen enough of Ripley in NXT to know that she’s real good and more than capable of handling things on RAW. Now I do think they put her in a bit of a trick bag with this whole situation. By the looks of things she wasn’t supposed to come up until after this show, but Lacey Evans and then Charlotte Flair being sidelined forced it to happen earlier. At the same time they didn’t have to do the title change here. The finish from the next night where Charlotte interfered and beat both of them up for the DQ would have worked here just fine and gotten real heat. Y’all gotta be ok with DQ finishes in big matches, they should happen sometimes to advance the storyline.
As for Rhea, the ball is in her court now. As champion the attention is on her now and with it comes all the scrutiny, both legitimate and otherwise from the IWC. She’s already getting the out of context gif/video treatment and while that’s never fair to anyone when you’re in that spot it comes for everyone. How she and her fans deal with that as she continues will tell the tale over the long haul. She should be fine, I think.
Universal Title Match: Roman Reigns (c) vs Daniel Bryan vs Edge
Let me just say that this was the most satisfied I as a Roman Reigns fan was coming out of a WrestleMania. While there was some debate about making this a triple threat on my timeline, all three men delivered. So to see Roman not stuck with an old, broken down opponent (WM 33) or put in an impossible circumstance with the crowd (32) or screwed by a last minute booking change (34) or having to give way to storyline priorities (31) felt like heaven. It took six years but we finally made it!
And there is no greater feeling as a fan than to to see one of your favorites get to win a match like this:
Perfect way to end the show if you’re a Reigns fan. And for all the debate about making it a triple threat match I think they did a really good job of setting it up in the month and a half leading up to it. But most importantly the match delivered and was good and violent. And we can’t forget that all three of these guys at one point were feared to be done for good, so to see them all back here is a blessing in itself. And to see them put on this kind of show was just great altogether.
This was one of the best Manias ever. The matches were mostly between good and great, there weren’t many head scratching endings, and there was no crowd fatigue due to the length of the show. And we had a historically great match to close out night one. What more can you ask for?