UPDATE: Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 is in the books. It was a really excellent start that bodes well for Night 2 on Sunday. The return of live fans was a real treat and we should be sure to savor every moment of Night 2 before WWE returns to its closed Thunderdome set. Below you will find our live analysis of the show, as it unfolded.
WrestleMania will look a lot more normal this year than it did last year.
The “Showcase of the Immortals” will be the first WWE show in 13 months to have fans in the stands. Ever since the pandemic forced WWE to move last year’s show from Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium to an empty WWE Performance Center, the company has been putting on shows without live crowds. That changes this weekend, though, when 25,000 fans will be allowed in Raymond James Stadium for both nights of WrestleMania 37.
The one thing that will carry over from last year’s bizarre, empty-arena WrestleMania is the two-night format. In the years before WrestleMania 36, WWE’s biggest show of the year had ballooned into a six- or seven-hour affair, exhausting fans. Splitting the bloated card up over two nights was a welcome change, and appears to be WWE’s strategy moving forward.
The show will be the first big test for WWE’s new streaming home, Peacock. American viewers no longer have access to the old WWE Network app and instead must watch on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service. The switch to Peacock was made ahead of Fastlane last month and viewers have not reported any major issues with watching live events such as NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, although some fans are peeved that they no longer have the ability to pause and rewind live broadcasts.
Follow along below for updates, highlights and results as the show unfolds.
Full card for WrestleMania 37, Night 1
- Tag Team Turmoil match for a women’s tag team championship opportunity on Night 2: Lana and Naomi vs. Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose vs. The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott) vs. Natalya and Tamina
- Steel cage match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
- Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
- Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs. The Miz and John Morrison
- Raw tag team championship match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) (c) vs. AJ Styles and Omos
- WWE championship match: Bobby Lashley (c) (with MVP) vs. Drew McIntyre
- SmackDown women’s championship match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
And we’re live!
The entire WWE roster joins Vince McMahon on the stage at Raymond James Stadium to kick things off, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
Rhea Ripley’s reaction during “America the Beautiful” was definitely the highlight of the opening. This weekend is the biggest match of her career and it was clear she was brimming with emotion.
Not so fast...
WrestleMania occurring outside the WWE ThunderDome means we’re at the mercy of the elements. Before things can get started, we’re going to have to sit through a lightning delay.
WWE championship match: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre
We’re going to start things with a bang. The biggest men’s title match of the night is going to go first, clearing the way for Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair to close the show.
In the early going, it’s been the kind of hard-hitting match we expected. Two big, strong men going at each other with no mercy.
Amazing power on display from McIntyre here. These two have been going full-throttle from the opening bell.
It wasn’t all hard-hitting action, though. Check out this awesome high spot.
And Bobby Lashley retains, choking out Drew with the hurt lock. A stellar start to the night. The crowd is hot after that one, which was important after a weather delay that could have sucked the air out of the building.
Tag Team Turmoil match
Next up is the women’s Tag Team Turmoil match, where the winners will get a women’s tag team title match tomorrow night.
The rain is starting to become a concern. The ringside area is noticeably wet and Mandy Rose just slipped and fell while walking down the entrance ramp. WWE needs a mop or something.
Natalya and Tamina get the win. A decent match with a few fun spots, but nothing earth-shattering.
Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro
This was one a lot fans were really looking forward to. Cesaro is one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster but has never before been in a singles match at WrestleMania.
Seth is no slouch, either!
Here are those swings we were waiting for! Cesaro takes Rollins for a spin and twirls him nine times.
“I survived the Neutralizer. I survived the swing,” Rollins says. “I am... a god.”
But a god is still no match for Cesaro.
Rollins couldn’t survive a second Neutralizer (and a whopping 23 swings!) and Cesaro picks up the victory. What a match. Cesaro was stellar and Rollins did his part to put his opponent over. That was a match that really benefited from being in front of a live crowd. The fans were amped to see Cesaro have that moment.
Raw tag team championship match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) (c) vs. AJ Styles and Omos
It’s time to finally get a look at what Omos can do in the ring. But first! Big E introduces The New Day, just like old times. That was fun to see.
Omos’s attire is a bit... unorthodox. He’s wearing a sleeveless button-up shirt, slacks and dress shoes. Do they not make trunks in his size?
They really made us wait for the big man to finally enter the ring. Kofi and Woods isolated Styles in their corner of the ring for a long while before Omos finally tagged and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Kofi and Woods sold the hell out of Omos’s offense, which is exactly what he needed. There was a great spot where Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm after jumping off of Omos’s shoulders, followed by this slam from Omos.
Omos then pinned Kofi with one foot and he and Styles are your new champs.
Steel cage match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
Alright, we’re doing this. The build to this match has been lackluster but at least we’re going to see Shane McMahon do something dangerous.
Shane got some help from Elias and Jaxson Ryker and then brought the fight to Strowman with an improvised weapon.
This spot was pretty creative. Shane appeared to be on his way to victory by climbing down the cage, but when he stuck his arm through the cage to wave goodbye to Strowman, Braun grabbed his hand and then tore the cage apart.
The death-defying spot we were all expecting featured Strowman throwing Shane off the top of the cage and down to the mat below. Braun got the pin and picked up the victory.
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs. The Miz and John Morrison
We’re getting down to the end of card now. Everyone is curious to see what Bad Bunny has in store for this match and WWE must have confidence in him to deliver by putting this match on right before the main event.
Miz and Morrison’s entrance was hokey, but Priest’s entrance looked incredible in the big stadium and then his partner arrived in an 18-wheeler.
Bad Bunny started off with a vengeance. He did not look like a celebrity just out for a payday. It’s clear how much effort he’s put into preparing for this match.
In the other men’s tag team match, we had to wait a while before the main attraction (Omos) got in on the action. This was the opposite. Bad Bunny worked the early part of the match all by himself, and looked incredible doing it.
He even hit a Canadian Destroyer!
Not surprisingly, it was Priest and Bad Bunny who picked up the victory after Bunny hit a crossbody on Miz and got the pin. It was probably the match of the night thus far.
SmackDown women’s championship match: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Time for the main event!
It’s obvious how much this moment means to Bianca. She was visibly emotional at the start of the match.
This GIF really undersells how amazing this spot was. Sasha went for the dive, Bianca caught her, lifted her in a military press and carried her back to the ring. Bianca’s strength is no joke.
Both women have been incredibly creative with their offense in this one. Bianca has shown off her athleticism (Sasha as well) and Sasha has used some unique psychology, particularly with the way she’s tried to use Bianca’s long braid against her.
After an intriguing finishing sequence that saw Bianca fail to hit her K.O.D. finisher once before finally landing it, Belair is the new champ.
This match was a perfect showcase for why Bianca deserves to be champ, and Sasha did a great job putting her over. It was an outstanding way to close an entertaining first night of WrestleMania. Join us back her tomorrow night to follow along for Night 2.