For the first time in a decade, Edge wrestled a WrestleMania match in front of a live crowd. Daniel Bryan put a second WrestleMania main event on his list of accomplishments. And after a one-year absence, Roman Reigns showed the wrestling world why he is WWE’s present and future.
In a night built around the main event, Reigns retained the Universal Championship in a match that exceeded the hype. The outcome was filled with perpetual uncertainty, adding real electricity to this bout. And the triple threat format lent itself well, providing opportunities for one-on-one showdowns pitting Edge against Bryan, Reigns against Edge (which included a double spear spot), and Bryan against Reigns. The crossface-Yes Lock double submission attempt on Reigns was another creative spot in a match that kept a high intensity from beginning to end.
The finish to the main event was brilliant. Following an assist from right-hand man Jey Uso, Reigns speared Edge, then used the chair shot as a set-up to stack his opponents atop one another and pin them both at the same time.
The first-ever two-night WrestleMania in front of a live crowd was a success. There were highlights on night two, particularly Sami Zayn v. Kevin Owens, and lowlights like the unsatisfying conclusion to The Fiend v. Randy Orton. Overall, this was a notch below night one, but the main event did its job in carrying the show.
Here are the results from the second and final night of WrestleMania 37:
- Randy Orton defeated The Fiend
- Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defeated Natalya and Tamina
- Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn
- Sheamus defeated Matt Riddle to win the United States Championship
- Apollo Crews defeated Big E in a Nigerian Drum Fight to win the Intercontinental Championship
- Rhea Ripley defeated Asuka to win the Raw Women’s Championship
- Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan and Edge in a triple threat match to retain the Universal Championship
And here are my takeaways while wondering when WrestleMania will air live on NBC…
Roman Reigns retaining the title was the right call.
Reigns is the biggest star right now in WWE. He played the role perfectly at WrestleMania, and this victory will make the moment even more meaningful whenever he eventually loses the title. And making this a triple threat was also the right decision, as this match was lacking an integral piece until Bryan was added.
There was so much to like about the main event. The pace simply never relented. It was further heightened late in the bout when Edge hit a spear on Bryan, then followed that up with a spear on Reigns. He appeared to have the match won, until Bryan pulled referee Charles Robinson outside the ring before he made the three-count. This was a critical moment in the match, as Edge lost focus on his goal, which had been winning the match. Jey Uso interfered, Reigns capitalized, and that brought us to the finish.
A year after missing the event, and three years removed from his last WrestleMania main event, Reigns is back atop the WWE at its signature event.
Big E did a wonderful job of making Apollo Crews stand out in their Nigerian Drum Fight. Crews is a deserving choice to carry the Intercontinental Championship, but it is worth asking—was this the right spot for Big E?
Big E is ready for a run in the main event. He is powerful, athletic, charismatic, and possesses the rare skill to connect with viewers as a babyface, which is especially hard to do. At 35, he is entering the prime of his pro wrestling career. Had he won the men’s Royal Rumble match, a new star would have been added to the title scene—and he would be a perfect foil for Roman Reigns.
Instead, Vince McMahon went with Edge at the Rumble. The story didn’t connect, and Daniel Bryan was then inserted into the program. But as we saw with Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair, there is nothing like a singles match to close out WrestleMania, and the best choice for this year’s event on night two would have been Reigns v. Big E.
A repackaged Dabba-Kato returned to WWE to assist Crews in winning the IC title. The 31-year-old Babatunde Aiyegbusi deserved a better fate than getting knocked out on Raw Underground, and he now has the chance to serve as Crews’s muscle on SmackDown. There is so much potential in this pairing, one that could significantly elevate both performers.
Rhea Ripley defeated Asuka to win the Raw Women’s Championship.
This match wasn’t their best encounter. Similar to Riddle v. Sheamus, the lack of chemistry was apparent, which would normally have been solved by working a string of matches together at house shows before arriving at WrestleMania.
But the result here was important. Ripley is an integral piece of the future for WWE, and an eventual WrestleMania showdown with Bianca Belair will be must-see.
Even without a rain delay, the action was also delayed on night two. This was due to the length of the Bray Wyatt introduction, which ended with Wyatt emerging from a massive jack-in-the-box.
After being set aflame by Randy Orton in December, Wyatt returned to vintage form as The Fiend. He appeared to be on the verge of winning, but a distraction by Alexa Bliss caused him to lose focus. Orton then hit an RKO to win the match. Before there was any explanation on the Wyatt-Bliss story, the lights went out and the performers disappeared. The crowd voiced its displeasure that there was no closure, or even explanation, over what took place.
It will be good to have Wyatt back as a weekly, active presence on Raw, and his in-ring tribute to the late Brodie Lee did not go unnoticed. Conventional wisdom had Wyatt winning this match convincingly, but clearly, nothing about this program is conventional. Especially at a show like WrestleMania, built around providing conclusions to storylines, this was a letdown.
For the second straight year, Randy Orton was part of a WrestleMania match intended for the wrong venue.
Last year, Orton worked a grueling Last Man Standing match with Edge that was designed to take place in front of a live crowd. Instead, it fell flat at an empty Performance Center. This year, the Orton-Fiend-Bliss story—which has benefited by airing from the ThunderDome—did not resonate as planned in front of a live crowd.
Courtesy of a stunner, Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn, concluding a very compelling match.
Until the main event, this was the match of the night. There were shades of Jake Roberts v. Ted DiBiase from WrestleMania VI at play here, with two distinct characters—and real-life best friends with a long history—bringing an old-school, physical match with a great story. Unlike Roberts-DiBiase, we unfortunately did not get the chance to hear Owens and Zayn cut promos before this match. WWE instead opted to run promo packages throughout the night, but considering both performers are so talented on the mic, that would have been a perfect intro to the match.
Chemistry is hard to attain, but Owens and Zayn work so well together. And Logan Paul fit in perfectly alongside Zayn, although that partnership did not last long. Paul complimented Owens after the win, infuriating Zayn and dissolving their relationship. And much to the crowd’s delight, Owens then delivered a stunner to Paul.
It is time for a world title reign for Owens. Whether that means a move to Raw to challenge Bobby Lashley, or extending his stay on SmackDown, his work is among the best in the world, and he adds value every time he appears on screen.
Whether it was booing Hulk Hogan, lighting up at the mention of Rob Van Dam’s rolling papers, or even cheering for Tamina, the crowd again added so much life to WrestleMania on the second night. The beauty of that is the unpredictability, which just isn’t part of the show in the ThunderDome.
WWE missed an opportunity to have Bayley serve as the host of this year’s WrestleMania.
Titus O’Neil and Hogan were already involved in the show through the Hall of Fame celebration, and both could have been inserted into the action over the course of two nights. Seeing Bayley getting knocked out by Nikki Bella was certainly not the best use of a personality that means so much to the company.
Bayley is a critical piece of WWE’s narrative moving forward. She should be paired back in a program with new SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. The first opponent for a new champion is extremely important. Steve Austin is one of the greatest of all time, but he benefited tremendously from working with Mick Foley immediately following his title win at WrestleMania 14. Bayley would be perfect in this role for Belair.
Another missed opportunity was the women’s tag title match, which could have added a burst of energy had Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott been given a chance to win the titles. Instead, it was Natalya Neidhart and Tamina Snuka challenging Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax.
Baszler worked an especially stiff match here, but it did not translate to in-ring brilliance. The match also ended in confusing fashion. After Neidhart saw Jax make the tag to Baszler, she knocked Baszler off the apron and then locked Jax in the sharpshooter. Baszler came back to the ring and choked out Neidhart for the win.
The women’s tag division needs some new life, and the frustrating part is that the talent is already there, just waiting for the opportunity.
Sheamus and Matt Riddle worked a physical match, with Sheamus winning the United States title after a vicious brogue kick.
This program is set to continue, and both men should take advantage of more opportunities to work together. There is very little in-ring history between the two, and without a house show loop to test and tweak, the landscape is different than ever before in WWE during the WrestleMania era.
Sheamus continues to bring a presence to WWE unlike anyone else, including Riddle, whose background is in MMA. It will be interesting to see what he does as U.S. champ, and if he can use this opportunity to elevate himself back into the world title picture.
For the second night in a row, the card was defined by its main event.
The tell that Reigns was winning the main event took place during the Asuka-Ripley match, which ended with a new champion. Having every title change hands on the second night was an unlikely outcome, so the three title changes earlier in the card could have tipped off viewers that Reigns was retaining—but even if it did, that didn’t matter. The main event captured so much emotion and brought forth such energy that it was an absolute pleasure to watch.
Reigns is no stranger to the main event at WrestleMania. But never before has he closed out a show like this. The finish of WrestleMania 31 was all about Seth Rollins unexpectedly cashing in and winning the title. WrestleMania 32 pitted Reigns against Triple H, which capped off a very long night, and The Undertaker had clearly lost a step when he met Reigns at WrestleMania 33. Reigns and Brock Lesnar had a compelling match at WrestleMania 34, but nothing like what was on display at WrestleMania 37.
Since returning in August, Reigns has made the most of this run. This was his most complete WrestleMania main event, one that will stand the test of time in wrestling lore.