WrestleMania 37 N1
April 10, 2021
I tried to stay up and watch this live with the lads but I got as far as all the pre-show interviews and went to bed. It didn’t help that it absolutely pissed it down in Tampa and there was a rain delay.
Hosts are Titus O’Neill and Hulk Hogan.
Presumably Hogan wasn’t allowed to do it on his own due to racism. The number of people in this building are freaking me out. I really hope there aren’t any major COVID outbreaks due to it.
Bobby Lashley © vs. Drew McIntyre
On the new version of Word you can’t get rid of the copyright sign. It’s probably under setting somewhere. It takes me approximately thirty seconds to get bored out of my mind. This is two big jacked up guys doing big jacked up guy things. I don’t like how, in modern wrestling, they feel the urge to throw big bumps in to appeal to the ADHD crowd when two big hosses are going at it. It doesn’t look or feel right. It only works when one dude is much bigger and scarier: like Braun. I catch Drew slapping his thigh. I thought they banned that? Drew runs through some of his better spots but the only reason this is getting love is it’s on first. It’s not a good match. I can’t even put my finger on why. It’s technically fine, if sluggish, and Drew’s feats are impressive. Like his dive over the ropes. It just doesn’t do it for me.
I think it’s mostly a physique thing. When workers get too big they get unrealistic. If you watch UFC or something you see big shots ending matches. Here they keep throwing punches to no effect at all. The structure just feels weird. Brock Lesnar revolutionised the way big muscular dudes should be booked. The trouble with WWE is there are fucking loads of them. They do a shit distraction bit with MVP saying something that stops Drew from doing the Claymore and he gets laid out with the full nelson. Haha, as if they started WrestleMania with a match this dull when they had a smoking hot crowd desperate to be entertained AND PUT THE HEEL OVER.
Final Rating: *¾
The New World Order are chatting when Bayley interrupts and gets love from X-Pac and Scott Hall. Hogan doesn’t reciprocate because he found out Bayley is Hispanic.
Tag Team Turmoil
Naomi & Lana vs. Billie Kay & Carmella
What happened to Lana? Genuinely mystified at her transformation into dayglow dancing girl. What happened to the Iiconics? And why is Billie Kay the one that got on Mania? I am very out of the loop. Billie Kay is funny but she might be the worst wrestler WWE have on their books and it’s bizarre they allowed her in the ring here. They even put Billie over! Riott Squad (Ruby & Liv Morgan) are next in. I thought Liv changed her gimmick but I guess she’s gone back. It’s been a year. WWE make the sensible decision of keeping Billie in there the entire time and having her take a complicated double team finish. It’s a disaster. Next in Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke. Mandy falls over on the ramp. It’s been raining. I appreciate them having matching gear. I hope they pull off twin magic. The match is much better without Billie Kay in it. Liv pins Dana and the ring announcer announces the wrong team. Natalya & Tamina are in next and I can see what they’re doing with the next gen pairing but they don’t interest me at all. It’s sad that WWE have had all these women on their books for years but they still only manage one interesting pairing; the Riott Squad. It’s almost like they have no forward planning and don’t give a shit about their midcard. Tamina puts Ruby away with the Superfly Splash. This was pretty dreadful for the most part. Also they’ve managed to book Tamina vs. Nia on WrestleMania Sunday, which is a terrible idea.
Final Rating: *
Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro
After seeing a bad match the last thing I want to see is Seth fucking Rollins.
This is Cesaro’s first Mania singles match, which is ridiculous and shows how WWE have undervalued the guy for so many years. I know he’s been in a lot of tag teams but there’s a reason for that. Somehow they think he can’t do it as a big singles star. And yet, when they want someone to look good who do they turn to? He’s been that guy since they wanted to get Sami Zayn over in NXT. What was that? Six years ago? Why would you see that and not think; this is our guy for the main events? They do a good job of taking trademark stuff and pulling counters out of it so show their familiarity with each other. Cesaro has been doing cool stuff like this for over a decade and it’s effortless for him. Seth is a solid wrestler. He’s not as good as he thinks he is and he’s a terrible promo but he can go. The UFO here fucking rules. It’s peak Cesaro. Balance, precision, execution. Both these guys are ideal size for pro-wrestling. The perfect blend of agility and athleticism. 23 swings sets up the Neutralizer and Cesaro bags himself a big Mania win.
This was really good. They played the hits but made it about the counters to the hits rather than just a bunch of finishers and kick-outs. If big WWE matches were all this satisfying the promotion would be imminently more watchable.
Final Rating: ****
As if the Andre got bumped to Smackdown. It’s the match to get people on the Mania card and they didn’t even put it on Mania!
RAW Tag Team Championship
The New Day © vs. AJ Styles & Omos
I have no idea who Omos is but he’s very tall.
Apparently, he has a basketball background and has had half a dozen matches total. It shows how much WWE like him if he’s basically debuting at WrestleMania. I’m all here for a freakshow performance. Xavier Woods pops me by yelling “we are effectively cutting the ring in half” while chinlocking AJ in his own corner. New Day are a fun act and have stayed popular for years just by being actual pals outside the ring and entertaining in it. It’s not rocket science. I sense a theme as AJ takes the bulk of the match. Michaels & Diesel used to do that. It was gold. The only issue with the match is that we’re waiting for Omos because he’s never wrestled but we don’t know how good he is!
Omos when he does come in understands his role perfectly. He just stands there and let’s the flies bounce off him. An elephant doesn’t fight flies. They’re just an irritation. He squishes them both and pins Kofi with one foot. Fucking perfect. Omos can learn over time from AJ but he doesn’t need to change what he does. He’s so big he shouldn’t be leaving his feet. Keep in mind he just flattened a former WWE champion without trying. Beautiful.
Final Rating: ***
Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman
I have no interest in watching Shane McMahon wrestle. In a cage match with Braun it should be a complete squash, like Omos just did to the New Day. The booking of Shane McMahon remains a complete mystery to me. They do some fun stuff with Braun tearing the actual cage structure apart. He lobs Shane off the top of the cage and then finishes with the powerslam.
Final Rating: *
Bayley joins commentary. She’s running some sort of nerd gimmick. She introduces the WWE Hall of Fame class; JBL, Jushin Liger, Bill Shatner, the Bellas, British Bulldog, Titus (for his charity work), the nWo (I thought they were already in).
WrestleMania 38 is in Dallas. I might even go. I have family in Austin that I’ve been meaning to visit for some time.
Miz & Morrison vs. Damien Priest & Bad Bunny
Punishment Martinez on the Mania card. I did not expect that. Bad Bunny is apparently a famous musician. I do not keep up with popular music, so I don’t know who he is.
I’m not being wilfully ignorant here I just don’t keep up with music. I did but I basically stopped around the time when Nu Metal died off. Anything before that and I know what I’m talking about jack. Bunny is noticeably smaller than the trained wrestlers and is very lightweight. Miz is very good at making other guys look good. I said that about Cesaro earlier but he does it through technique. Miz does it by showing ass. He’s not afraid to look like a chump. There’s a reason he’s had a job in WWE for as long as he has. Bunny is very impressive. His selling is decent and his lucha stuff is really strong. When celebrities turn up with this level of prep you can’t really fault them. There are obviously some flaws there because selling is complex and you can’t just learn how to move around a wrestling ring in three months no matter how naturally gifted you are. He’s aided by Miz and Morrison being so good.
I was talking about big over jacked guys earlier and Priest is an example of the hybrid. He’s big (6’5”) but he’s mobile too. He’s not piled on too much weight. The most talked about spot is Bunny doing the Canadian Destroyer on the floor but that’s a move basically done by the person who takes it and Morrison does a grand job on that. It’s a way to make a dude look fantastic without him having to do anything too hard. Bunny even gets the pin thanks to a high cross on Miz. Bunny looks gassed and he was very stretched at times but he did nothing wrong and threw himself into everything. I can’t fault that. One of the best celebrity wrestling performances, ever.
Final Rating: ***½
I know the grade is ***½ but that’s like *****+ on the celebrity scale.
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks © vs. Bianca Belair
I remember the first time I saw Bianca as a green rookie. It’s great to see her make it here to the main event of Mania. She always had that potential. I’m glad she’s lived up to it. Sasha has always struck me as the Queenmaker. Whenever she’s up for it, she turns her opponent into a star. Whether that’s Becky Lynch, Bayley or whoever. Sasha is the bar you need to get over if you’re going to be…”the Man”.
Bianca is clearly emotional before we even start. It means that much to her. The suicide dive spot where Bianca catches Sasha and carries her in a press up the steps is mental. Just incredible power and technique from Bianca. She still telegraphs a few spots but that will slowly disappear. Sasha works heel and uses Bianca’s hair against her. Sasha knows how to structure stuff so that the opponent gets a shine before she cuts that off. It helps that she’s a great trash talker. They do good work with Bianca using raw power and Sasha trying to cut her off. The delayed suplex with Banks going after the midsection with punches is great storytelling. As is using the braid like a chain match gimmick. But dropping in and out of it rather than tying the entire match to it. They also have some killer high spots like the 450 to the knees. It helps that it’s a relatively short, heated match where they don’t need to kill any time. It’s all go, go, go.
The braid stuff works into Sasha utilising it for submissions and controlling Bianca with it. It’s all really well done. Sasha gets in a running theme of hurting her own knee. It’s sly at first but increasingly it plays into her drop in mobility.
This is the moment where Sasha suddenly realises her game plan hasn’t worked. She’s not worn Bianca down at all. She can’t move her with the braid. Belair has her here. It’s over. Moments later she hits the KOD and it is over. Bianca wins the belt and both women killed it in the main event of WrestleMania in under twenty minutes. Aces. I loved this. Sasha Banks lads. If there’s a person who could pull me back in it’s the Boss.
Final Rating: ****¾
I don’t know what I expected here. I hated WrestleMania last year. I thought it was the low point of the business for quite some time. What changed in a year? Cesaro singles win, a good celebrity performance, incredible debut for Omos and Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair was absolutely brilliant. The best Mania main event since the Lesnar-Reigns-Rollins (cash-in) triple threat in 2015. The best straight up, ungimmicked, main since Shawn vs. Taker at WrestleMania 26. You could argue tomorrow’s main event is THE WrestleMania main event but this match absolutely crushed it. I’m glad the fans were back to see it. I hope it doesn’t cause a COVID related issue. Shows like this are a trial to see how viable it is to go back to opening shit up and hopefully by next year’s Mania in Dallas COVID is nothing more than an unpleasant memory.
Goddamn it. I was out. I was gone and they pulled me back in.