After more than one year, WWE welcomed live fans back with Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night. Getting the show off the ground wasn't easy, however, as thunderstorms rolled through Tampa and caused a weather delay minutes after the show kicked off. After nearly an hour of waiting, the action finally got underway and a huge night followed.
In the main event, Bianca Belair challenged Sasha Banks for the SmackDown women's championship. From the moment Belair won the 2021 Royal Rumble, fans had been anticipating a WrestleMania match between the two women. While lofty expectations can lead to major disappointments, Banks and Belair exceeded even the wildest expectations for the bout, delivering a truly great match on the biggest stage of them all.
Also during Night 1, Bad Bunny finally stepped into the ring as an active competitor, teaming with Damian Priest against The Miz and John Morrison. Bunny stunned the WWE Universe with a performance that was more than could reasonably be expected from a "celebrity wrestling match," creating his own WrestleMania moment.
Click here for LIVE results and grades from Night 2 of WWE WrestleMania 37.
WWE WrestleMania 37 results, grades for Night 1
WWE Championship -- Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre: Lashley and McIntyre locked up and pushed each other around the ring in a collar-and-elbow to start the match. Lashley dropped McIntyre with a shoulder tackle, but McIntyre came back with a belly-to-belly suplex moments later before a brawl broke out with both men driving in punches and forearms. The action spilled outside, where Lashley whipped McIntyre into the ringside barricade. McIntyre finally cut off Lashley's run by moving out of the corner and sending Lashley shoulder-first into the ring post. McIntyre tried to focus his offense on Lashley's shoulder but the champion was eventually able to regain the upper hand. McIntyre hit a clothesline, another belly-to-belly suplex and a neckbreaker. The challenger then went back to the arm of Lashley.
Lashley was able to hit a dominator to cut off McIntyre's offensive flurry and scored one of the first near-falls of the match. Lashley also tried to lock in the Hurt Lock, but McIntyre was able to fight it off. As the fight went to the top rope, Lashley fended off a superplex attempt and then found himself launched from the top rope anyway as McIntyre popped up with a big throw. Shortly after, McIntyre hit the Future Shock DDT three times before going for a pin, but Lashley was able to kick out at two. McIntyre set up for the Claymore, but Lashley was able to roll out of the ring to avoid -- though he wasn't so lucky seconds later as McIntyre dove over the top rope. Lashley again tried to lock in a Hurt Lock, but McIntyre managed to force Lashley into the turnbuckle before locking in a kimura on Lashley's injured arm. Lashley ducked under a Claymore after a distraction by MVP from the outside, allowing Lashley to finally lock in the Hurt Lock. McIntyre fired up and tried to kick off the turnbuckle and roll, but Lashley held on to the hold and continued to apply pressure until McIntyre went out to allow Lashley to retain. A solid match based on physicality and impressive in the two men having to wait through the delay when they were seconds from walking to the ring at the start of the show. This won't be the best match of the weekend, but was still good stuff. Bobby Lashley def. Drew McIntyre via submission to retain the title. Grade: B
Naomi & Lana vs. Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke vs. Natalya & Tamina vs. The Riott Squad vs. Carmella & Billie Kay (Tag Team Turmoil): Carmella, Kay, Naomi and Lana got the match started as Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler watched on backstage. Kay managed to pin Naomi when Carmella sat behind her, pressing into Kay's back with her feet to help keep Naomi from breaking the pin. The Riott Squad was out next. Carmella and Kay tried the same trick with the pin but were caught by the referee, allowing the Riott Squad to get the pin as Ruby Riott came off the top rope onto Kay as she was draped over Liv Morgan's knees.
Brooke and Rose were the next team up and nearly managed to battle through and score the elimination before Morgan rolled up Rose with a small package. Tamina and Natalya were the final team to enter the match with Morgan badly worn down from the battle with Brooke and Rose and Riott down and out on the floor outside the ring. Riott finally got back in the match and hit a senton on Tamina that let Morgan get a pin for a near-fall. Tamina got the upper hand back and Natalya tagged in and hit a Hart Attack before choosing to tag back out to Tamina instead of locking in the sharpshooter. Tamina came off the top rope for the splash to score the pin and secure a title shot for Night 2. This was what it was with no pairing getting enough time to really turn in anything special, but also things moving quickly enough to hide any potential issues. Natalya & Tamina won Tag Team Turmoil. Grade: C+
Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins: Cesaro tried for a swing twice in the opening moments of the match, but Rollins managed to avoid. Still, Cesaro hit a spinning European uppercut and dropkicked Rollins as he was seated on the top rope. Rollins was able to cut off the early flurry of Cesaro by attacking the arm. Rollins also hit a superplex into the falcon arrow for a near fall. The arm work from Rollins continued, eventually forcing Cesaro to cut off a swing at only nine rotations when he finally locked it in.
Rollins came off the top rope with a twisting splash after regaining the upper hand but Cesaro responded by hitting the Neutralizer after kicking out from Rollins' splash. The exchange of big moves and near-falls continued as Cesaro went for another Neutralizer but Rollins countered into the Pedigree. Rollins went for the stomp but Cesaro popped him up and hit a European uppercut before the hands-free airplane spin variation -- the UFO. Cesaro followed that up with a 23-spin swing into the Neutralizer for the three count. A fun mid-card WrestleMania match that saw a true fan favorite not only get his first WrestleMania singles match, but also a victory. Things really clicked into place down the stretch in this one. Cesaro def. Seth Rollins via pinfall. Grade: A-
Raw Tag Team Championship -- The New Day (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos: Styles and Kofi Kingston started the match with the giant Omos looking on. Kingston got an early advantage and began taunting Omos, playing mind games with the giant competitor. As New Day held the advantage on Styles, Xavier Woods yelled that they are tag team wrestlers, unlike their opponents, because they were "effectively cutting the ring in half." That was the pattern of the early portion of the match -- Styles struggling to make a tag to Omos while New Day kept him isolated in their corner. Styles tried to run around the ring to slide in and make the tag, but Woods was able to cut him off and keep Omos watching from the ring apron.
After being dominated, Styles was finally able to kick Kingston and manage to make the hot tag to Omos, who immediately entered the ring and started to walk down Woods. Woods hit some leg kicks and a dropkick, but nothing had any effect on the big man. Omos laughed while he slowly worked over both members of New Day. Omos drilled Kingston with a two-handed choke bomb and scored the pin to win the titles. It was strange to see a tag match built around a hot tag to a heel, but this was brilliant to hide Omos' flaws and keep him looking like a completely effective monster. And Styles is made to bump around as his team's Ricky Morton. AJ Styles & Omos won via pinfall to win the titles. Grade: B+
Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman (Steel Cage Match): Strowman was attacked before the match by Elias and Jaxson Ryker, who then handed McMahon a steel chair. Strowman managed to stop McMahon from an early escape, but McMahon managed to grab a sheet of metal from the top of the cage, hitting Strowman with it several times but only getting a one count. Strowman again stopped McMahon from escaping the cage, finally getting the opportunity to toss McMahon around while driving in some big punches and a clubbing forearm to the chest.
Despite Strowman smashing McMahon against the cage, McMahon managed to fight back before hitting the coast-to-coast dropkick for a two count. When Strowman kicked out, Elias and Ryker climbed the cage to help McMahon climb out before Strowman launched himself into the cage to knock all three men off with Elias and Ryker falling to the floor outside. McMahon again tried to climb out of the cage. This time, when Strowman tried to stop him McMahon grabbed a tool box from out of a bag that was hanging near the cage and hit Strowman in the head with it. McMahon climbed to the outside of the cage and reached his hand in to wave goodbye, but Strowman jumped to his feet and grabbed McMahon's hand, ripping apart the cage to drag McMahon back inside. Strowman then hoisted McMahon to the top of the cage, climbed up himself and threw McMahon back into the ring. Strowman followed McMahon into the ring and hit the running powerslam for the three count. This was the standard Shane McMahon match with all the good and bad involved. McMahon always being able to physically compete with even the biggest WWE superstars will never really make sense, but he takes some insane risks that result in an impressive level of spectacle and enhance the feel of the match. Braun Strowman def. Shane McMahon via pinfall. Grade: B
Bad Bunny & Damian Priest vs. The Miz & John Morrison: Priest and Miz started off the match, but Miz demanded Bunny tag in, accusing him of being scared. Priest walked over and made the tag, bringing Bunny into the ring. As Miz taunted the music superstar, Bunny hit him with a right hand, and moments later. Miz charged at Bunny in the corner but Bunny moved out of the way and landed a flurry of punches. Miz was finally able to hit a knee on Bunny and began dragging Bunny around the ring before Bunny countered an armdrag by floating over and hitting one of his own. Bunny again got one over on Miz, wrapping him up with la magistral cradle for a near-fall and then a spinning rana.
Miz finally tagged out, and while Morrison tangled with Bunny, Miz struck with a cheap shot and tagged back in. That finally allowed Miz and Morrison to begin pounding on Bunny, isolating him and punishing him with strikes. Bunny finally came back by getting his feet up in the corner and then hitting Miz with a tornado DDT before finally making the hot tag to Priest. Priest ran through both Miz and Morrison before hitting a side-sitout chokeslam on Miz for a near-fall. Priest and Bunny hit stereo falcon arrows for a near-fall. Priest nailed a flipping dive onto both men, then Bunny came off the top rope with a crossbody to the outside. Priest took Miz back inside the ring and tried to finish things with Hit the Lights, but Miz countered into the Skull-Crushing Finale but Bunny broke the count.
Bunny took out Morrison outside the ring with a destroyer. He then tagged back into the match and hit a crossbody on Miz, who was held on Priest's shoulders, before scoring the pinfall. There's no doubt that this was an absolute success. Bunny didn't look like a seasoned professional or anything, but he had more than a little going offensively and had to sell for a long stretch in the match. He carried his weight here, and by any measure, this was a true success. Bad Bunny & Damian Priest def. The Miz & John Morrison via pinfall. Grade: A
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair: Banks took Belair down early, but Belair fired right back up, exchanging shoves before easily flipping past Banks twice. The women continued to battle with Banks trying to use speed and slickness to counter the power and pure athleticism of Belair. Banks tried to hit a suicide dive on Belair outside the ring, but Belair caught her and rolled through, pressing Banks above her head and carrying her up the ring steps before throwing her back into the ring. Belair tried for a moonsault on Banks, but Banks used Belair's hair to counter and landed a series of hard knees for a two count.
Outside the ring, Banks again tried to use the hair of Belair to pull her toward the ring post, but Belair reversed and pulled Banks into the post instead. Back in the ring, Belair held Banks in an extended vertical suplex, bouncing Banks off the ring ropes multiple times before finally driving her into the mat. Banks continued to try to use Belair's hair as a weapon, but it continued to backfire until Belair hit a standing shooting star press. Belair took to the air again, trying to come off the top rope with a 450 splash, but Banks was able to get her knees up to counter the move.
Belair hit a series of powerbombs, scoring a near-fall. But when going for a third, Banks managed to counter with a facebuster. Banks followed up with a tornado DDT for another near-fall. Another two count came after Banks hit a frog splash. Banks wrapped Belair's hair around Belair's arm and wrenched on a submission, switching to a Banks Statement as the referee neared a five count. Belair managed to get to the ropes, but Banks hit a series of kicks to the head as she grew increasingly frustrated. Banks ran to the corner to deliver a knee strike, but Belair moved out of the way before heading back to the top rope and hitting the 450 splash for two count. Belair went for the KOD and Banks grabbed the hair again. Belair whipped her with the hair and they went back and forth with reversals before Belair hit the KOD for the win.
This was everything expected from these two women. A truly fantastic match that saw both women give it everything in a bout that had several convincing false finishes before a classic counter-based finish. A fantastic capper to Night 1 of WrestleMania. Bianca Belair def. Sasha Banks via pinfall. Grade: A+