Welcome to Sports Obsessive’s coverage of Night 1 of WrestleMania 37! Here’s a full breakdown of the Night 1 card:
- SmackDown Women’s Championship — Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
- WWE Championship — Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
- Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison
- Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
- Raw Tag Team Championship — The New Day (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
- Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman (Steel Cage Match)
- Naomi & Lana vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Tamina vs. The Riott Squad vs. Carmella & Billie Kay (Tag Team Turmoil)
I’ve gone on record stating my predictions, which include Lashley retaining, Belair closing the show as the new champ and Bayley with a mystery partner crashing the gauntlet match. Will I be right? We’ll be finding out soon! I’ll be updating this article after each match with the latest results. You can keep up with me on Twitter (@AndrewGrevas) or Sports Obsessive) or keep refreshing the link for the latest tonight.
Show opens up with Vince McMahon taking the stage with the WWE superstars behind him as he addressed the crowd, thanking them and acknowledging how much they’ve missed performing in front of a live crowd. It was a good way to start the show and damn, it feels good to have WrestleMania back in front of a live crowd. WrestleMania 37 is under way! The whole locker room stayed on stage for “America the Beautiful” and the pop for Sasha when the camera stopped on her was real. This crowd is ready. For the first time in one year, one month and one day, WWE is performing in front of a live crowd. Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe are at ringside, putting over tonight’s show before they head to the back for an interview with Shane McMahon. Kind of odd at this point that they still haven’t started the first match. Shane’s interview wasn’t anything explosive or really interesting, until Bobby Lashley and MVP interrupted and took over. Does feel like a certain amount of stalling at this point. Possibly weather related? Wait, now Drew is back there and going after Bobby and MVP. An angle before the match? Ok its definitely weather related stalling. Drew McIntyre says he’ll have the match backstage if he has to.
Back to Kayla Braxton and the pre-show team and they acknowledge the weather delay. WWE is forced to shake things up during their first show back in front of a live audience and you can’t help but feel bad for them. They cut to another interview, this time with The New Day and they’re putting over both their match tonight and being back in front of a crowd. Can you image the script rewrites backstage? Who is Vinny Mac yelling at right now? I digress. Big E joins his New Day brethren to finish up the interview, before they cut to Braun Strowman who says he’s ready to go and that the monster is going to show his teeth tonight. I can’t believe that the angle here is that Shane is bullying a literal giant but again, I digress. Kevin Owens is up next and he cut an impassioned promo. They cut to Michael Cole and Samoa Joe outside, wearing ponchos. We’re in a full rain delay here folks at WrestleMania 37.
Bianca Belair is up next and then Seth Rollins, who did look like he was having a blast. The Miz and John Morrison followed and it kind of reminded me of the old Royal Rumble shows where everyone would get the quick promos before the big match. Now we’re moving to video packages.
Hulk Hogan and Titus O’Neil, the hosts of WrestleMania 37, an awkward duo if there ever was one, came out to hype the crowd. I’m pretty sure Hogan just said “The Hurt Block”…did I hear that right? Oh geez…The crowd is hanging in there and its finally time!
Match 1: WWE Championship — Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew makes his way out first and the crowd is eating it up. Drew is feeling it. he deserves to come out first and have this moment. What a year he had in the worst year any of us can remember. Here comes the champ. If you’ve seen Drew and Lashley’s matches in TNA, you know they have great chemistry. This match should be a great way to start the show. The introductions give the big fight feel. The crowd is hot. I feel excited. This is how WrestleMania is supposed to feel.
Starting off like two bulls with a collar and elbow tie up, neither man getting an advantage. Lashley hits a huge shoulder block and Drew is right back up. They’re going back and forth and then Drew with a big belly to belly suplex. They have another stare down and then the fists start flying. Drew backs him in the corner but Lashleyt fights his way out. Drew with the reversal and knocks Lashley out of the ring, taking the fight to the floor. Lashley gets the upper hand, tossing Drew around the floor before bringing him back in the ring. Lashley starts to take control and we’re getting into the heat. Drew takes over and goes for an armbar on the mat but Lashley fights his way out of it. A smack to the face by Lashley before thrusting his shoulders into Drew’s midsection in the corner. Drew starts to mount a comeback and hits a big belly to belly of his own. The crowd is coming alive with Drew’s comeback. Drew with a kip-up and the crowd went wild.
These guys are having a great, big man power battle and everything feels very even. Lashley with an inverted powerslam and a near fall. Lashley’s taking over here, with a series of big moves and near falls. Drew’s reeling and Bobby is going for the kill. Drew’s fighting to stay alive and comes back with chops and elbows in the corner. Drew’s making his comeback and the momentum feels like its turned. Drew has Lashley on the top rope and hits a huge chop before going up himself. Lashley fights back and Drew goes for the kimura on the top rope. Drew falls but catches Lashley and throws him from the top in a cool spot, but Lashley gets up and blocks a Claymore. This feels as even as it gets and its good. Back to a slugfest and Drew with another suplex before the FutureShock DDT…and then 2 more! Lashley kicks out. Drew is in shock, no pun intended. “This is awesome” chant breaks out. It is. It really is.
Lashley bails out of the ring before a Claymore and Drew flies over the top to the outside, taking out Lashley and MVP. Drew off the top, gets caught and Lashley with a suplex, then a DDT. He wants to set up for the Hurt Lock and gets it but Drew escapes. Drew turns a spinebsuter into a kimura and it looks like Lashley is going to tap but he grabs the rope. This match is really good. Lets hope it finishes well. Back to slugging it out. Its intense. Drew with a kick to the face and headbutt before MVP distracts him before the Claymore. Lashley gets the Hurt Lock in and Drew is fading in the middle of the ring. Back to his feet and kicks off the middle rope but Lashley keeps the hold on. Drew is fading hard and the ref calls the match.
Winner and still WWE Champion, Bobby Lashley.
Wow, that was a damn good match to start the show. We need many more matches between these two. The right guy went over here.
Backstage, the NWO and Titus are hanging out when Bayley shows up. This is a huge waste of one of 2020’s biggest stars.
Match 2: Naomi & Lana vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Tamina vs. The Riott Squad vs. Carmella & Billie Kay (Tag Team Turmoil)
Lana and Naomi are out first and Corey Graves is at ringside joining Michael Cole. The crowd is loving Lana and Naomi. The next team out is Carmella and Billie Kay. I have to admit, I kind of like this thrown together team. Two teams start. Once a team is defeated, a new team joins.
Carmella and Naomi kick things off and Mella is in trouble right away. Quick tag to WWE’s favorite underdog, Lana and the heels take over. Billie Kay is in and I wish they would put her over as a tag team specialist on commentary. I digress. Right after I typed that, Billie Kay scores the pin on Naomi with a little help from Carmella. Riot Squad is out next.
The Riot Squad have great chemistry as a team but Billie Kay reminds me of an old school southern heel. She gets heat. She’s not flashy but she knows how to work a crowd. I feel like Jerry Lawler would’ve booked her well. And as soon as I typed that, Billie Kay took a pin and they were eliminated.
Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke are on their way out next and Mandy slips while walking down the ramp. Poor lady. It did pour rain for hours after all. This match is going quick and they really need a surprise tag team to come out soon. Its fine for what it is but it feels like a TV match. Liv Morgan is a house of fire and gets a near fall on Mandy. Decent action keeps going and Liv gets the pin! Tamina and Natalya are out next. The Riot Squad is beat down and are playing the beat down babyface role well.
The multi-generation stars are on a role, getting a ton of heat on Liv Morgan while Ruby is out on the floor. This match has served to get The Riot Squad over more as a team. They start mounting a comeback and the crowd is heating up. If there’s no surprise entry, let The Riot Squad go over here.
Tamina with a Superfly Splash and this one is over. They show the champs in the back and it doesn’t look like we’re getting a serve here.
Winners: Tamina and Nattie
Match 3: Seth Rollins vs Cesaro
Match starts off hot and you can tell this match means a lot to Cesaro. It means a lot to the crowd. This has a big match feel instantly and rightfully so. Rollins with a surprise BuckleBomb and now he’s in control. The narrative being told is that Cesaro has always been a guy with “potential”. Can he finally win on a big stage? Rollins is on his A game tonight and is giving it to Cesaro. The crowd is behind Cesaro almost like he’s a hometown hero. This is a Mania moment.
Cesaro is mounting a comeback and its Big Swing time! Followed up by a Sharpshooter but Seth to the ropes. Its hard to keep up with the action here. Its fast and intense. As a fan, I just want to watch. Its that good. Cesaro is a house of fire but he can’t put Seth away. Doubt is written all over his face. Seth with a reversal into a Pedigree….two count! Crowd is really hot. As they should be. They’re letting these guys go out and work and they are two of the best in the world.
Seth is taunting Cesaro, telling him he’s survived his moves and that he’s a God. Seth is taking it to Cesaro good. Seth is setting up for the stomp but Cesaro counters into an upper cut and then into the UFO, which looked really damn impressive. That’s on the Mania highlight reel for years to come. Another swing and he gets to 23 swings this time. Damn! Neutralizer and a pin! What a great match. Genuine emotion from Cesaro and the crowd. This was an amazing match and moment. Hats off to both guys here – this was special.
Backstage promo from Ziggler and Rude. Really wish they were on the show. Next up is Big E, introducing The New Day.
Match 4: Raw Tag Team Championship — The New Day (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
Crowd loves seeing The New Day all together. Big pop for AJ Styles too though. Lets see what Omos can do in the ring. He’s wearing normal clothes and a coat? Strange but hey, live your best life big man. Nice pyro display for AJ, who can’t hide how excited he is to be in front of a crowd again. Looks like Kofi and Omos are starting us off. Omos is huge but AJ changes his mind and starts the match instead.
AJ and Kofi are moving quickly, starting things off hot. Omos is staring at Kofi like he wants to eat him. New Day are working over AJ in their corner and Xavier even starts doing commentary at one point, acknowledging that they’ve cut the ring in half. AJ is getting worked over bad and at some point, the big man has to come in.
They’re teasing the big man getting in there and keep showing closeups of his face on the ring apron. New Day is dominating this match so far. AJ is trying anything he can to make the tag. They certainly wouldn’t give AJ Styles a WrestleMania 37 shut out would they? Not a chance but its getting bad for AJ. The big man finally gets the tag and the crowd is gasping. Xavier is in there, throwing kicks but its not phasing Omos. He catches Kofi when he tries to fly off the top. He looks dominant, as he should. He looks good in the ring. He’s not a clumsy giant. Omos could be good.
The match has now completely flipped, with The New Day getting destroyed. AJ with his forearm off Omos’ shoulders was a cool spot. The beatdown continues and the match ends with AJ directing Omos to pin Kofi with one foot. New champs!
Winners and new Tag Team Champions AJ Styles and Omos
Match 5: Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman (Steel Cage Match)
Jerry Lawler is at ringside, joining the announce team. Now its time for a steel cage match built around an old, rich guy bullying an actual monster. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Braun is 385 lbs. This story is ridiculous. Lawler has been set up for some “vintage Lawler” style jokes and before we even get started, the 2021 version of the Mean Street Posse jumps Braun with chairs. The beatdown continues from Shane inside the cage with a chair. I wonder what he’s going to jump off? The cage seems kind of predictable.
Wait, now Shane is out boxing Braun. Remember when Braun had credibility? “The Greatest Boxer in the World” uses a piece of paneling from the cage as a weapon and stays in control for a bit, before Braun FINALLY mounts some offense. The announcers are selling it like Braun is beating him down but the former owner of WCW wasn’t going to stay down for long. The Extreme Legend himself hit a “Coast to Coast” from the top rope and Pete Gas’ sons, Elias and Ryker tried to climb the cage but Braun knocked them off the side. The Hardcore Icon tries to escape but Braun catches him briefly until Shane finds a tool box on top of the cage (you read that right) and knocks Braun down. Shane climbs out of the cage and is almost to the floor when Braun catches him through the cage and literally begins ripping the cage apart, pulling Shane back in. Ok, that was kind of cool.
Both men are on top of the cage and Braun hip tosses Shane from the very top of the cage, which you should do to all bullies, climbs down and hits Shane with his running powerslam for the win. While the action wasn’t bad, the build to this match and the fact that Shane was treated like a legit badass really hampered it for me.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Before the Hall of Fame celebration began, Bayley came out and crashed the announce team and in the process reminded us that one of the most talented Superstars in WWE has been reduced to cheesy skits on the biggest show of the year. I really hope they have something else planned her for tonight or tomorrow.
Next up was the Hall of Fame celebration for the class of 2020, which was really nice to see after missing a year. That’s the kind of stuff you miss.
Match 6: Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison
Booker T came out to join the announce team, which was followed by a procession of bunnies…yes actually bunnies hopping to the ring. Miz and Morrison began rapping their way to the ring and if you need a bathroom break, I’m assuming you’re taking it right now. For what its worth, the crowd is really into Bad Bunny and his entrance. Here’s hoping Priest gets elevated in this prime spot on the biggest show of the year.
Miz and Morrison are demanding that Bunny start the match and he takes the bait, getting in there with Miz. The crowd wants to see this. Miz is taunting and Bunny drops him with a right hand. Bunny stays with the fists until Miz traps him in the corner, but Bunny with a double leg takedown. Miz regains control and starts to get his heat back until Bunny hits a surprise armdrag. Miz is selling the frustration well and Bunny starts showing that he can actually wrestle. Its very obvious that Bunny has been training hard for this and this isn’t your normal celebrity involvement in a match.
Morrison gets in and starts working Bunny over before tagging in Miz. So, this isn’t going to be a showcase for Priest afterall. He’s playing the Robert Gibson to Bunny’s Ricky Morton as Miz begins to work holds on Bunny. As nice as it is to see how hard Bunny has worked, its time to let everyone else shine. They actually work for the company and need to stay over, or in Priest’s case, get over.
John Morrison just did the Spin-A-Roonie while Booker T was at the announce table and reminded me how much I love Morrison. That guy is great. Ok, it’s really time to let Priest get the hot tag. Finally! Priest is showing the world what he can do and he’s a house of fire. If you followed him in NXT, you know he can go. Hopefully he gets his chance on the main roster. Priest and Bunny did double Falcon Arrow’s and got 2 counts. Cool spot. Priest over the top and takes out both Miz and Morrison. As they got up, Bunny off the top to the outside with a cross body. Crowd is hot for this.
Bunny hit a Canadian Destroyer to Morrison on the outside….yes you read that right…and then in the ring, Priest got Miz on his shoulders so Bunny could hit a top rope cross body for the win!
From a spectacle standpoint, that was great. Bunny looked like a million bucks. The crowd loved it. Not sure how much Priest gained from the match but it was fun to watch.
Winners: Bad Bunny and Damian Priest
Match 7: SmackDown Women’s Championship — Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Its WrestleMania 37 Night 1 main event time. Belair is emotional. Banks looks confident and like an all time legend out there. The crowd is respectful to Belair but they love Banks. Belair has tears in her eyes and Sasha is oozing charisma. She’s an all time great at this point and is soaking in her moment.
The dueling chants pick up and Belair is getting over her emotions and we’re starting off hot. The action is fast paced and hard to keep up with. Sasha with a suicide dive to the outside but Belair not only caught her, but gorilla pressed her back in the ring. That was ridiculously impressive. Belair is a damn strong wrestler. Belair goes for a standing moonsault when Sasha uses her hair to regain control. Sasha is calm and collected, driving this match, the biggest of her career. Belair uses her power to gain the upper hand and rolls through a small package into a vertical suplex. Her strength and power is unmatched.
Banks keeps going back to using Belair’s hair as a weapon and Belair keeps using her strength to overcome. They’re telling a solid story of power vs experience. Banks, the wily veteran, always finds a way to stay in the game but Belair’s power can’t be denied. They’re going back and forth, with neither woman maintaining control for long.
Frog splash from Banks gets a 2 count and she looks frustrated. Belair is trying to escape and Banks is getting ruthless. She uses Belair’s hair as part of the Bank Statement but Belair rolls through to the ropes. Sasha looks furious. She wants to end this. Belair bulldozes Banks into the corner and goes to the top for a superplex. Sasha fights back and catches Belair in the tree of woe, jumps down, misses a drop kick and Belair with a top rope 450 but only gets 2 count. Belair looks furious now, like she’s going in for the kill. Banks again grabs the hair but this time, Belair uses her own hair as a whip to Sasha’s midsection. Brutal sounding. Belair with a KOD and gets the win!
Winner and new Smackdown Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair!
What a match and what a moment. Both women delivered big time and had a great match. There will be rematches and they will be great.
Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 is in the books and it was a really solid show. Join me tomorrow as I cover Night 2 of WrestleMania 37 and thanks as always for your support of SportsObsessive.com!