UPDATE: WrestleMania 37 is in the books. It was an excellent two-night event full of thrilling action. The pressure was on for WWE to deliver in its first event with a live crowd in more than a year and everybody stepped up to the occasion. Read below for updates on the night as it unfolded.
The matches from the first night all met or exceeded expectations and the pressure will be on the performers to do the same tonight. The main event will be the highly anticipated triple-threat match between Edge, Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns for the universal championship. But there are plenty of other matches worth looking forward to farther down the card.
Longtime frenemies Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn should turn in a great performance (even if Logan Paul’s involvement isn’t everyone’s cup of tea), Big E and Apollo Crews should throw down in a hard-hitting “Nigerian Drum Fight” and Rhea Ripley will have an opportunity to follow in Bianca Belair’s footsteps and cement herself as part of WWE’s next generation of great women’s wrestlers.
Follow along below as the action gets started at 8 p.m. ET.
Full card for WrestleMania 37, Night 2
- The Fiend (with Alexa Bliss) vs. Randy Orton
- Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (with Logan Paul)
- Women’s tag team championship match: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) (with Reginald) vs. Natalya and Tamina
- United States championship match: Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus
- Intercontinental championship match: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews (“Nigerian Drum Fight”)
- Raw women’s championship match: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
- Universal championship match: Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan (triple-threat match)
The Fiend (with Alexa Bliss) vs. Randy Orton
WWE announced that the Fiend-Randy Orton match will be the first of the evening. There was speculation before the show that this could be a cinematic–style match, like last year’s Firefly Fun House match against John Cena.
OK, so, not a cinematic match, but still some visual trickery. The Fiend isn’t going to be wrestling in his new scarred look. He’s been magically restored to his original form, and entered via an enormous jack-in-the-box.
The highlight was undoubtedly Bray Wyatt’s tribute to his friend and former teammate, the late Jon Huber (aka Brodie Lee and Luke Harper).
This was a bizarre match, which ended in even more bizarre fashion when The Fiend was distracted by Alexa Bliss (with black liquid pouring down her face) and Orton was able to hit the RKO for the win.
The Fiend and Bliss then disappeared as the lights went off. A lackluster opener that reportedly had the crowd booing after the cameras cut away.
Women’s tag team championship match: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) (with Reginald) vs. Natalya and Tamina
Just like the first night, it’s the women’s tag match in the No. 2 spot. Natalya and Tamina earned their spot in this match by winning the Tag Team Turmoil match on Night 1.
The women’s tag match from Night 1 was unfortunately the low point of the card, only because the rest of the show was so enjoyable and it’s tough to tell a coherent story in a match with so many teams. This one, though, was a big step up. Natalya and Shayna Baszler are two talented technicians, and Tamina and Nia Jax matchup nicely as a pair of powerhouses.
After a closing sequence that saw Tamina and Nia showcase their strength, Shayna and Nia retained the titles after Baszler got Natalya to tap out. (Baszler locked in her submission hold while Natalya had Nia in the Sharpshooter.) A good rebounded from a clunker of an opener that got the crowd back into it.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (with Logan Paul)
The inclusion of obnoxious YouTube doofus Logan Paul is a great way to generate heel heat for Sami. Zayn got a warm reception for his entrance but Paul was booed heartily.
Everyone knew this was going to be a banger of a match from the moment it was announced. Owens and Zayn really have known each other for years, dating back to their days as Kevin Steen and El Generico. Their chemistry excellent and it paid off in this match
In the end, it was Owens who picked up the victory with a stunner. The icing on the cake was K.O. hitting Paul with the stunner after the match.
United States championship match: Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus
These are two men who wrestle a similar hard-hitting style, and that was on full display in this one. They traded hard strikes and pulled out some daring maneuvers, such as this stunning belly-to-belly suplex from the top rope.
Fitting with the theme of the match, Sheamus won with a particularly brutal Brogue Kick, hitting Riddle as he jumped off the second rope for a lionsault attempt and quickly pinning Riddle. Sheamus is your new U.S. champion.
Intercontinental championship match: Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews (“Nigerian Drum Fight”)
WWE pulled out all the stops for Big E’s entrance here, bringing in rapper Wale.
The rules of the Nigerian Drum Fight sound a lot like a No Holds Barred match, except there actually are percussion instruments ringside.
The beating started immediately, with Big E and Apollo trading blows with kendo sticks, and didn’t let up.
Apollo was really getting whupped, but then the enormous Babatunde Aiyegbusi (who has wrestled under the names Babatunde and Dabba-Kato for NXT and WWE) showed up out of nowhere to hit Big E with a chokeslam and allow Apollo to pin Big E. Apollo Crews is your new intercontinental champion.
From the way Michael Cole reacted to Babatunde’s arrival (“Look at the size of that monster”), it sounds like he’s due for a rebrand. WWE has reportedly filed for a trademark for the name “Commander Azeez,” which seems like a fit for Babatunde’s new character, given the military attire he was wearing. Babatunde, like Apollo, is of Nigerian descent.
Raw women’s championship match: Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
Rhea, like Big E, got the live performance entrance treatment, but the sound mixing was off. The vocals were way too loud, which ruined what could have been an amazing moment for Ripley.
Ripley and Bianca Belair were the last two women standing the Royal Rumble this year. They were stars in NXT at the same time and that Rumble moment was an indication that WWE views them as the future of its women’s division. Belair delivered in her match on the first night, so the pressure was on Ripley to turn in an impressive performance in her match.
Ripley, like Belair, has just ridiculous strength.
The theme of the night thus far has been really brutal physical punishment, and this match was no exception.
The finishing sequence here was impressive and smooth. Asuka attempted to lock in her Asuka Lock submission hold but Ripley fought her off. Asuka came bouncing off the ropes and Rhea quickly reversed Asuka attempt at offense into her Riptide finisher. One, two, three: new champ!
At just 24 years old, Rhea Ripley is the new face of the Raw women’s division.
Before the main event...
There were rumors and rumblings that Becky Lynch would be appearing during a talk segment with Bayley. Indeed, Bayley did come out before the final match of the night, but there was no Becky. The Bella Twins came out, Bayley made a wisecrack about John Cena and then got tossed down the ramp.
Universal championship match: Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan (triple-threat match)
Everything has built up to this moment. After a lousy opening match, each match has been better than the last tonight and the crowd is raring to go for the final match of the evening. The reception was especially warm for Edge, who is wrestling on the 10-year anniversary of his retirement announcement. Roman Reigns, in his first appearance as a heel in front of a live crowd, did hear plenty of boos.
This was a great match. All three men had moments to shine.
The addition of Bryan to make this a triple-threat was a great call. It allowed for some really creative offense and led to a wonderful spot where Bryan pulled the ref out of the ring just before the count of three.
The match was outstanding, definitely worthy of the main event spot at a great WrestleMania. In the end, it was Reigns who retained, after some interference from Jey Uso. Reigns hit Edge with a spear, stacked Edge’s body on top of a lifeless Daniel Bryan and pinned both men for the victory.
The conventional wisdom is to send the crowd home happy and at first glance, having a heel champ retain in the main event is the opposite of that, but maybe WWE fans are actually happy to finally see a heel Roman Reigns.