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Kevin’s WWE WrestleMania 37 Night One Review

April 11, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Bianca Belair
7.5
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Kevin’s WWE WrestleMania 37 Night One Review  

NXT WrestleMania 37 Night One
April 10th, 2021 | Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida | Attendance: 25,000

Fans started chanting for “CM Punk” before the show apparently. Go back to the Thunderdome!

There was a lengthy weather delay at the start of the show. Then Titus O’Neil and racist Hulk Hogan came out to plug the show. I was off watching the start of the Nets/Lakers game and returned to my room when Drew came out. Also, looking at a Twitter video, Hogan got booed so maybe the live crowd actually got something right.

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley [c] vs. Drew McIntyre
BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT. That’s what a good chunk of this match was. Drew and Bobby beating the hell out of each other and throwing one another around in entertaining fashion. It helped sell how dominant Bobby has been and how tough Drew is. Some of the offense hit by both men came across really well as they were impressive in battering one another. Some of this wasn’t quite as much of a hoss fight as I wanted, which made it less enjoyable than I wanted. I did like Drew hitting a trio of Future Shock DDTs, really selling how much it takes to beat Bobby Lashley as not even that was enough. I also loved him using an armbar, reminding me of Brock Lesnar. He had to try this because Bobby had the Claymore well-scouted and kept avoiding it at every turn. Drew also busted out a tope con hilo. An MVP distraction led to another missed Claymore and Lashley slapped on the Hurt Lock. Drew fought hard but couldn’t get free and passed out, losing in 18:18. Surprising result but a great one. Bobby has been so good lately, so him retaining is good and it allows Drew to fight back to the top. The match itself was a hell of a fight that delivered in spades. [****]

Bayley interrupted Titus and the nWo backstage in a segment that was kind of just there. This show needs more Bayley.

No. 1 Contender’s Tag Team Turmoil: Billie Kay & Carmella vs. Lana & Naomi vs. Natalya & Tamina vs. The Riott Squad
Bless Lana, that woman tries so hard. I give her so much credit but it doesn’t click for her. She mad some really bad misses in this. They lost in quick fashion to Billie and Carmella through an underhanded pin. Billie was hilarious throughout and is an absolute treasure. The Riott Squad were next in (dressed as Harley Quinn and Joker) and they eliminated Billie and Carmella after their cheating pin attempt failed a second time. Mandy and Dana came out next, with Mandy tripping during her entrance. She still looked good doing it though. Dana hit a swanton on Liv but had the pin countered and the Riott Squad advanced but the referee botched the announcement. Natalya and Tamina were next and they won because of course they did. I love the women of WWE and they’ve been a highlight of WWE for years but that was awful. It went 14:04 and other than some cool Riott Squad moves and Billie’s hilarity, it was a total mess. Plus, that decision to have Nattie and Tamina win is an ALL-TIME BAD call. Like, is there a single person on earth clamoring to see Tamina/Natalya vs. Nia/Shayna? [*]

Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
Thankfully, this should be a step up in quality. They did flub a few moves early on, which was cause for concern. I like that some of the early stuff was built around the swing because it played into the feud. Cesaro got one on but nine swings but had to let go because his arm had been damaged. Good stuff. They had some really cool exchanges, though I could’ve done without kickouts of stuff like the Neutralizer and the Pedigree. Cesaro hit the big uppercut and set up the sick UFO spin where h uses no hands to spin Seth. Cesaro is so good at doing impressive shit. Cesaro then did the spin for 23 times, which is one more than in the build, and added the Neutralizer to win in 11:26. That was a really fun match. These two could have a good match in their sleep. Hopefully, that means Cesaro gets something good going forward. [***¾]

Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode had a backstage promo I ignored because it’s Ziggler and Roode.

WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: The New Day [c] vs. AJ Styles and Omos
Big E was out to do New Day’s intro, which was cool. Omos came out in business attire, which was a choice. I liked that he wanted to start but New Day goaded AJ into doing so. It was a smart way to have AJ handle the heavy lifting while not making Omos look bad. That actually made for a really fun spin on tag formula. It was AJ who was isolated by the babyfaces. They did something similar in NXT’s women’s tag division earlier this year to solid results too. When Omos finally got the tag, it actually felt like a relatively big deal. He no sold everything New Day did and helped AJ on a Phenomenal Forearm. He then got the win with a huge choke bomb on Kofi in 9:46. That was some quality pro wrestling that did exactly what it had to. I enjoyed it. [***]

Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
Man, fuck this match. I had a power surge during this and I wasn’t even mad about it. I returned to see a fair amount of it but couldn’t time it properly. It was boring, overly long, and Shane’s bump at the end was kind of tame given who he is. I did think that breaking the side of the cage the way they did was at least somewhat creative. Braun won with a powerslam. It was very bad. [¾*]

The Hall of Fame class came out to get love.

An ad ran for WrestleMania coming back to AT&T Stadium next year.

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs. John Morrison and The Miz
A bunch of bunnies hopped out to the ring as part of Miz and Morrison’s entrance. Bad Bunny got a cool entrance though. Bunny looked pretty good out there. He started and pissed Miz off because he hit a decent arm drag, a flying head scissors, and used a clean la magistral. It was impressive. Of course, Miz and Morrison got him in trouble and he had to sell, which I’ll admit he did a decent job of. It means so much when a celeb actually likes wrestling. They try. Bunny sold well and eventually made the tag to Priest. They even hit stereo Falcon Arrows for near falls, which was a ton of fun. Bunny did a dive onto his opponents outside but then Miz hit Priest with Skull Crushing Finale only for Bunny to make the save. THEN BAD BUNNY HIT A CANADIAN DESTROYER! They then won with a Doomsday Device cross bad as Bunny pinned Miz in 15:01. That was so much goddamn fun. Bad Bunny looked like someone who worked hard to put on a good match and actually did most of the work. Priest did his thing and the veteran heels more than held up their part. [***½]

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks [c] vs. Bianca Belair
Somehow, this is apparently the first world title match in WWE history between two Black wrestlers. That’s almost impossible to fathom. We all know that the build to this has been weak as hell but that doesn’t change the fact that these are two FANTASTIC wrestlers. Bianca was on the verge of tears at the bell. I liked how this started as Sasha won out on an opening tie-up by moving into the right position and using technique to her advantage. She can’t overpower her but she can outwrestle her. Her tope suicida leading to Bianca rolling through and pressing her up the stairs and into the ring was great. That kind of became the theme as Bianca had the power and athleticism edge but Sasha was the more experienced wrestler. Bianca got going and went for a 450 splash but Sasha got her knees up to stop her. Sasha busted out a sweet tornado DDT that looked fantastic. Sasha used Bianca’s braid to her advantage at a few points but she couldn’t put her challenger away, which was frustrating. I appreciated Bianca being hung up in the corner and actually avoiding the double stomp. Too many wrestlers just sit there and take it. A 450 couldn’t end it and Sasha grabbed the hair as part of her KOD counter. Bianca whipped her with the hair and it set up a series of counters that led to the KOD, giving Bianca the title in 17:!5. This entire thing felt so special to be a part of. From Bianca’s power to Sasha targeting the hair to that finish, I was hooked. I loved almost everything about this and it was my favorite Mania main event since either 2014 or 2010. [****½]

7.5
The final score: review Good
The 411
That was a really good night of wrestling. To get the bad out of the way, the turmoil was pretty bad and I couldn’t get into that cage match at all. That being said, the rest of the show was really good. You get a banger of a WWE Title match, a really good Cesaro/Seth match, a quality Tag Title bout, Bad Bunny killing it, and an all-time great main event. Hell yeah.
legend

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WrestleMania 37, Kevin Pantoja