WrestleMania 37 (Night 1) – Review

Lineup for Tonight's WrestleMania 37: Night 1 | 411MANIA

The first WWE show in over a year with ticketed fans in attendance is in the books. And the bEST bit is we are only half way through it!

Night 1 of what will, for SO many reasons, be a historic WrESTleMania 37 is done. And my oh my what a night it was. At times emotional, at times shocking, at times brilliant, but overall and throughout a really enjoyable and entertaining show. And that’s what we ALL needed and wanted more than anything.

So things started a little crazy… as GOD tried to get one back over Vince McMahon after doing the job in 2006, with severe weather threatening to curtail the most anticipated show of all time. And in fact the local thunderstorms threat did send fans in side again and even delay the first match starting. To kick things off we had Vince on stage with the locker room behind him, as he gave a rousing speech welcoming us all to WrESTlemania! After the national anthem we had a classic cool mania opening video… before Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe informed us the first match of the show was delayed due to possible weather threats (FYI it appears Tom Phillips is no longer the lead Raw commentator but I’d expect confirmation in the next coming days). Drew and Lashley cut great promos at each other backstage, and they had a lot of other people on the card interviewed to fill time… until FINALLY we were able to have our first match!

Bobby Lashley (with MVP) defeated Drew McIntyre to RETAIN the WWE Championship

Yes you did read that result correctly! Drew got a really good reaction from the crowd. And these two guys put on a really great match that went about 20 minutes in total. Drew even pulled out a huge dive over the ropes to the outside as well as a few submissions I’m not sure I’ve seen from him before. As the match went on the crowd got more and more behind him…

McIntyre hit 3 Future Shock ddts for a nearfall. Then for the finish as Drew went for a Claymore, MVP shouted to warn Bobby and he was able to counter and put in the Hurt Lock. Drew tried to fight out and seemed to, but Lashley kept it in… and GOT THE WIN!!! Crowd fell a little flat and I don’t think any of us expected that result at all. But personally and I never thought I’d say this, but I’m not mad. Lashley with MVP has been on a role for some time now and it’s kind of cool his title reign will continue. What next for him or Drew I’m not sure but after Mania their tends to be a draft of some form so let’s see. But a really good match to begin Mania with a somewhat surprising result. This was by far the best Bobby Lashley match I’ve seen.

****3/4

Natalya & Tamina defeated The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan), Mandy Rose & Dane Brooke, Billie Kay & Carmella, and Lana & Naomi in a tag team turmoil match to earn a Women’s Tag title match on night 2

Poor Mandy Rose slipped when she came out didn’t she. Fell right on her arse on the entrance ramp (ofc it had been raining, I think AJ Styles about slipped later too). A lot of people said this match contained a lot of botches and was rushed and they seemed nervous. My god cut them some slack. I didn’t notice too much and thought it was OK. Didn’t see and still don’t think it needed to be on Mania but oh well. Lana and Naomi got a really big reaction coming out. But then I was surprised they went out first (Carmella and Billie Kay working together to get the pin). Ruby and liv wore Joker and Harley Quinn gear. And they quickly eliminated Kay not long after entering. Mandy and Dana wore, well they practically didn’t wear, a very tight small pink number… eventually Liv pinned Brooke. And after it looked like The Riott Squad would do it after going through 2 teams I was kinda bummed when Natalya and Tamina got the win… a heel vs heel match tomorrow now… guess they were so enamoured with Tamina vs Nia from SmackDown they wanted to give it us again… oh the joys… 2/2 heel wins to start the first show in front of ticketed fans for over a year 🙃🙃🙃.

**

Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins

Now THIS was more like it! Seth had new music but kept the Burn It Down bit. Cesaro got a big babyface pop and was super over during this match. The video before he came out was basically a propaganda video on behalf of Rollins, it was really GOOD SHIT! These two had such a good ‘rasslin match with Seth pulling out all the stops and Cesaro swinging Rollins all over (the swing was super over with the crowd)… Rollins went for a Stomp, but got caught in mid-air with a big uppercut. Cesaro then spun Rollins with the UFO (ON HIS NECK HE SPUN A MAN FOR GOD SAKE) and the Swing before hitting the Neutralizer again for the win. So after a couple of close calls it was Cesaro who got the win with the Neutralizer and he was very emotional after. What a moment for him. Maybe the biggest of his career getting a singles match win at a Wrestlemania. Great great stuff here. They got the time and they delivered upon it like we knew they could do. Let’s hope we FINALLY get the Cesaro train flying out the tracks now!!!

****1/2

AJ Styles & Omos defeated The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) (C) to win the Raw Tag Team Championship

New day had Big E come and do their intro… but this was the OMOS show!!! The whole match hilariously centred around new day stopping AJ getting the hot tag, and then when he did new day sold it so so well. Omos didn’t do too many moved but my god he doesn’t need to! He’s 7 foot 3 for god sake, he came in, launched new day about and then got the win for his team. Simple as really. Yeah this was exactly what I expected but that’s not a bad thing. Will be fun to see where the new Diesel and Shawn team goes… crowd were really into Omos by the way so that’s promising. Good stuff here. Seeing New day run at Omos and legit bounce off him was hilarious.

***3/4

Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon in a steel cage match

We all got what we wanted! Elias and The trump fanboy attacked Braun before the match so Shane had the advantage right away. He battered Braun with chair shots but thank fuck Braun turned it around. They told the story during the match as they have in the build that Braun was fighting on behalf of anyone that ever had been bullied so he was always winning. He looked in incredible shape by the way! The big spots were Braun trapping Shane by pulling his arm THROUGH the cage, RIPPING OFF part of the cage wall and then throwing Shane to the floor! And also hitting the big running powerslam before getting the win. Good stuff and probably as fun as it could’ve been.

***

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated The Miz and John Morrison

Is Bad Bunny the best celebrity wrestler we’ve seen? It’s very possible after this showing! After a rather trippy entrance from Miz and Morrison where they rapped their spoof song ‘Hey Hey Hop Hop’ and we had a load of guys dressed as BUNNIES in the ring… we had a much cooler entrance by Priest (my heart was warm) and then Bad Bunny came out on top of a massive truck and got a big big reaction when he came out… and then the match itself was super super fun! It was of course all about making Bad Bunny shine but he more than pulled it off. He hit a fucking CANADIAN DESTROYER to Morrison on the outside for Christ sake! Bad Bunny and Priest hit a super Electric Chair-Crossbody combo on Miz, before Bad Bunny got the pin on Miz to win it. And of course he was always going to win but he was so so good. Hope we see him again and I hope Priest continues getting a push after this stuff. This was really really good fun. Bravo to all involved here. Was much better than it had any right to be.

****

If ever a match was and felt like a big deal and a proper Wrestlemania main event it was this next match. AWESOME video before the match, both women got superstar reactions and Bianca was basically in tears before the match began… but was the match we ALL wanted to be great deliver?…

Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks (C) to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship

Yes. Yes it absolutely did deliver and then some. Bianca showcased her power throughout. Sasha showed why she’s up their with the best female wrestlers in the world. As I’ve said the whole match was GREAT from a psychology and wrestling point of view… but the closing sequence was excellent; Bianca tried for a 450 Splash, but Sasha got her knees, and after locked in the Bank Statement, only for Bianca to reach the ropes. Belair then did hit the 450 but only got a nearfall. She seemed to crank it up a notch after and she whipped Sasha with her hair, and when I say whipped her hair may as well been steel (it left a big cut on Sasha’s leg after). Crowd were well into it all the way too. They went absolutely wild when Belair finally hit the KOD for the 1,2,3. She was of course super emotional after but man what a moment. This really delivered and for my money is right up there at least as good as Asuka vs Charlotte for the best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania. I think it’ll be remembered far more fondly than the 3 way from a couple of years ago. Yeah an awesome moment to end night 1. 2 African Americans headlining a WrestleMania, and then being women, is something history will look back on. But above all else the match itself was BRILLIANT! And I’m absolutely delighted to be able to say that.

*****

Overall a really fun night. Emotional for us all watching at times just to have a WrestleMania somewhat back again, and even Mother Nature tried to halt things but yeah a fun night overall. Lots of great moments. Night 1 like with Takeover was the less stacked of the 2, but that delivered and so did this. If night 2 is as good we’re looking at one of the better Mania shows. We can only hope.

Josh.

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