To paraphrase the entrance theme of a certain Hall of Fame class of 2021 inductee, WrestleMania is back, and (hopefully) better than ever.
Bolstered by the return of a passionate audience, WrestleMania 37 was the first show in more than 365 days to have a live crowd.
Opening with Vinnie Mac himself hyping the show before God returned for a Backlash 2006 rematch with the chairman, delaying his show for half an hour via a weather assault.
The show resumed with hosts Titus O’Neil (greeted warmly by the audience) and Hulk Hogan (greeted not quite as warmly by the audience) on hand to hype everyone up some more before the show kicked off with one of the best matches of the weekend.
Here are GiveMeSport's rankings out of 5 for EVERY. SINGLE. MATCH from the weekend!
Bobby Lashley (c) def. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship
In a reboot of a well-received IMPACT Wrestling feud from yesteryear, Drew McIntyre looked to gain revenge on the All Mighty. The two powerhouses delivered a hard-hitting, engaging bout with a surprisingly brutal destruction of The Scottish Warrior to close out. Full Nelson-ed into unconsciousness, WWE’s no. 1 babyface fell in defeat to the monster champ after a distraction by MVP.
Great showing by both men, can we get Lashley vs Brock Lesnar now?
Natalya/Tamina def. Lana/Naomi, Ruby Riott/Liv Morgan, Billie Kay/Carmella and Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose
First Mandy fell. Then, Mandy Rose… I’ll see myself out.
Natalya and Tamina weren’t exactly the most exciting option of the teams on hand here, but both (especially Natalya) are respectable, solid hands in the women’s division. Despite going almost 15 minutes, this one felt rushed with many of the talent on hand not getting much time to get their spots in. Naomi in particular is wasted in this Lana pairing, a feud with a certain new RAW Women’s Champion in the coming weeks would be a much better use of her.
Tamina demolished Liv Morgan with a splash for the win. The Riott Squad should’ve taken this; they were the best performers in the bout.
Cesaro def. Seth Rollins
It’s about time.
The King of Swing finally got his first ever ‘Mania singles bout this year and he did not disappoint. Cesaro and Seth Rollins, great friends in real life by all accounts, displayed pitch perfect chemistry here. Athletic and technically sound, the only real complaint here is that the two deserved another 10 minutes to tell their story. Cesaro picked up the well-deserved victory after a combo of his signature, superhuman moves put The Messiah down.
Main event time for both of these guys in the near future hopefully.
AJ Styles & Omos def. The New Day (c) for the RAW Tag Team Championships
Boy that Omos fellow sure is tall.
AJ Styles is now officially WWE’s 32nd Triple Crown Champion and 22nd Grand Slam Champion for a bout where he mostly served as a heat builder. Audiences were into Omos once he got the heel equivalent of a hot tag. Demolishing Kingston and Woods, the big man picked up the win for his team, looking like an absolute beast in the process.
What are the odds there’s a feud between the Phenomenal One and his enforcer before the year is over?
Braun Strowman def. Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage
Shane McMahon is probably still in an ice bath at the time of writing after this one.
After a truly dreadful build that served to extinguish any heat left in the Braun Strowman character, we got this clunky, stunt-laden mess.
The Monster Among Men got jumped by Elias and Jaxson Ryker before bell time. Shane McMahon (who is still breaking his body in half at 51, 51!) got his marvellous Coast to Coast move in which was something at least.
Strowman pulled the cage apart and threw McMahon from the top to his latest brutal demise before squashing him with a Powerslam for the win.
The right guy won at least.
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest def. The Miz & John Morrison
Best celebrity wrestler ever?
Bad Bunny absolutely rocked it here, even busting out a Canadian Destroyer at one point. Damian Priest was his usual bad-ass self, too. Thanks to the Bunny association and exposure, it’s likely we’ll be seeing a huge Priest push this year, look out Lashley.
The Miz, ever great at being insufferable, worked a perfect heel style to complement the faces. Morrison too, bumped all over the place to get the babyfaces over.
Bunny picked up the win after a double team move on The Miz.
Bianca Belair def. Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Is there any athletic feat Bianca Belair can’t do?
This highly-anticipated bout was slightly marred by a lacklustre build-up (thanks a bunch Reginald). Fortunately, the two made up for it with an explosive, often emotional main event that left audiences stunned.
Everything from 450 splashes to military press walks, to Belair whipping Banks into a bloody mess with her ponytail was on display here.
Belair picked up the win with the unsurvivable KOD to bag her first championship.
Great work from both performers, rematch?
Titus and The Hulkster were back in pirate outfits this time. No word yet on how Hogan’s notoriously temperamental ego handled the jeers both nights.
Randy Orton def. The Fiend
Yes, you read that right.
After destroying his Wyatt Family, burning his home down, burning him alive and RKO’ing his beloved Alexa Bliss, Bray Wyatt still completely failed to get revenge on Randy Orton.
After a nice homage to the late, great Mr Brodie Lee, The Fiend (old mask back but the burns victim jump suit remains) got in the ring for a bout that’ll be a struggle for those with red/green colour blindness.
Alexa Bliss then discovered oil in a giant jack in the box, distracting the once indestructible masked man. Orton then hit the RKO at the five-minute mark for the win.
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (c) def. Natalya & Tamina for the Women’s Tag Team Championships
These four had the tough gig of getting a furious crowd back into the show. Beyond the obvious question of ‘why oh why is Baszler trapped in the doubles division?’ This was a serviceable, but uninspired, tag outing.
Everyone got their spots in and Nia Jax managed to avoid potatoing anyone into next week which was a plus.
Baszler picked up the win for her team with an ice cold Kirafuda Klutch on Natalya. A surprising result given the teased heat between the champions.
Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn
When he’s done with boxing, Logan Paul is going to make a much better wrestler than anyone will care to admit.
You can never really go wrong with a Zayn/Owens bout and this clash was no different. Zayn, arguably the most fleshed out, compelling personality in the promotion right now, lost to his old pal in just nine minutes after a breakneck paced bout.
Owens Superkicked and Stunnered the former El Generico into oblivion in a questionable end decision. Paul then raised the Prizefighter’s hand and got a Stunner for his efforts. The crowd audibly loved that and Paul sold the Stunner better than anyone this side of Dolph Ziggler.
Pity about the camera work…
Sheamus def. Riddle (c) for the United States Championship
These two beat the snot out of each for 10 straight minutes. (Matt) Riddle, though, poorly booked on the main roster as a goof, is a great hard-hitting wrestler when given the chance. Sheamus, meanwhile, has had a renaissance in the ring lately and put on a great showing here.
The finish of Sheamus eviscerating Riddle with a mid-moonsault Brogue Kick was arguably the best of the weekend.
Apollo Crews def. Big E (c) for the Intercontinental Championship in a Nigerian Drum match
So a Nigerian Drum match is just an Extreme Rules match with Nigerian Drums… Good to know.
Apollo Crews has been on fire since turning heel. After years as a smiling, undercard babyface, the king of the standing moonsault has found his voice and then some. While some may be disappointed Big E lost here, it’s likely he’s moving onto the main event picture this summer.
Crews, now with Dabba Kato in tow, is a fresh and exciting heel act for SmackDown to showcase.
Exciting stuff from two of the company’s more promising rising stars that deserved more time.
Rhea Ripley def. Asuka (c) for the RAW Women’s Championship
The Nightmare is here.
After Charlotte Flair was forced to pull out of proceedings, Australia’s finest wrestling export filled in the challenger slot.
Redeeming her loss to Flair last year, Ripley picked up the win on Asuka in a competitive, well-paced bout. Ripley sent Asuka packing with the Riptide at 13 minutes for the win and the title.
Hopefully creative put a lot more effort into Ripley’s reign than they did Asuka’s.
Roman Reigns (c) def. Edge and Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship
Roman Reigns controversially winning the main event and upsetting everyone in the process. Where have we heard that before?
The Tribal Chief would not be denied tonight, employing a trusty insurance policy by the name of Jey Uso once again.
The show being 10 years to the day Edge retired left many wondering if he’d pull off the ultimate comeback win. Sadly for the Rated-R Superstar, it was not to be.
All three men performed excellently here in an all-action main event. The shocking finish of Reigns destroying both foes and pinning them one on top of the other will likely become iconic in the years to come.
Controversial as it may be, Reigns was the right choice of winner here; his title run has been an exceptional story thus far.
Rating: 4.5/5News Now - Sport News