Here are my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown’s second and final evening of WrestleMania 37 action!
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (with Alexa Bliss) vs. Randy Orton
Reactions: WHOA! Randy Orton went all-in on them new tights, I see. I need that color scheme to be his default one in WWE 2K22, fam. And while I haven’t given a damn about “The Fiend” in a good while, I gotta admit – his entrance was pretty dope. But for the love of God, why did they bring back the gimmicky red lights that EVERYONE HATED? LIKE, WHY?
The match itself had some decent moments here and there, but it was so hard to get into most of it because of the silliness attached to it. The God-awful red lighting, Bray Wyatt’s lame-duck no-sell act, and all the BS Alexa Bliss delivered that lead to the stupid finish really did a terrible number on this one. Pretty crazy how I wasn’t all that enamored with both openers for WrestleMania 37 this year…
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Natalya and Tamina (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship)
Reactions: For a match that featured a group of ladies I have no interest in and a pair of belts that are practically meaningless to me, I sure had a good time watching this unfold. It was pretty obvious that everyone went out of their way to go that much harder than they usually do, which is why we got some super stiff strikes from Shayna Baszler and even a top rope crossbody splash from Nia Jax of all people.
As for their opponents, Natalya and Tamina pulled off some impressive maneuvers of their own. Tamina channeled Hulk Hogan from WrestleMania 3 when she shockingly body slammed Nia, while Natalya took a ton of brutal offense and kept on coming for more. I’m sure you all noticed how swollen Natalya’s lips got after she ate a nasty kick from Shayna. We ended up getting a hot ending to bring this match to a close, so I came away from this tag team war impressed by everyone and everything involved.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (with Logan Paul)
Reactions: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are so used to putting their amazing chemistry on display whenever they happen to be competing for the same wrestling fed. I’m sure they prepped themselves before this matchup to raise their game to a new level for their first-ever singles meeting at WrestleMania. And thankfully, both men put on a clinic that kicked ass and then some. Like Night 1’s quality bout between Seth Rollins and Cesaro, this match showcased two members of the midcard that can always be counted on to put on a banger.
From the very start, we got some incredibly impactful moves. And as it wore on, Sami and Kevin pulled out their most vicious moves in a bid to destroy each other. Sami went specialty suplex and Brainbuster crazy, while Kevin dished out some sick Superkicks and a few debilitating suplexes of his own. This match kept a frantic pace throughout, gave me the impression that either man could walk away with the win, and made both competitors look great. I even gotta hand it to Logan Paul for selling that Stunner from Kevin like it was pure death. As you can probably tell, I loved this.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Riddle (c) vs. Sheamus (WWE United States Championship)
Reactions: This US Championship match was one of those slow burners that gradually got better as it wore on. Sheamus had control of Riddle for much of the beginning portions thanks to his power-based offense. Then Riddle began gaining the advantage after he landed a clean Belly to Belly backflip suplex from the top rope. Both men stuck to what they did best here – Sheamus threw out plenty of punches and big boots, while Riddle cleaned his clock with elbow strikes and kicks.
While the majority of this bout was good, there was a major botch that occurred near the end when Sheamus slipped off the top rope during a super Air Raid Crash attempt. That knocked this match down a peg, but I still enjoyed it overall. The ending that saw Sheamus KO Riddle with a Brogue Kick while the barefoot brawler was in mid-air was pretty cool. I was shocked to see Sheamus walk away with the win – I figured Riddle was being set up for his first win at a WrestleMania here. I like Sheamus though, so him winning here wasn’t a problem whatsoever.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Big E (c) vs. Apollo Crews (Nigerian Drum Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Reactions: So it turns out the first-ever Nigerian Drum Match was nothing more than your typical garbage brawl with the added presence of African Djembe drums. Which was fine, I guess. So this championship grudge match was a fun time – it featured a Kendo Stick clash at the start, plus it featured Big E tearing into Apollo Crews with a nasty spear through the middle ropes and a nasty slam right onto some steel steps.
Come to think of it, Big E got a majority of the offense here. Crews hit a nice Enzuguri and laid in some Kendo Stick shots of his own here and there, but he was on his back for most of this bout. As soon as this match looked to be hitting a higher gear, it ended out of nowhere due to the assistance of Apollo’s new bodyguard. Babatunde hit the ring to drop Big E and hand his new suitor the IC Championship. The short tun rime of this match and the fact that Appolo’s win felt a bit hollow after Big E’s domination kept this from being that much better than it really was.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Asuka (c) vs. Rhea Ripley (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Reactions: For some reason, this women’s title match really didn’t click for me. Maybe it’s because I’m huge fans of Asuka and Rhea Ripley, so I was very much looking forward to watching them produce a classic here. Plus I figured both women would do everything in their power to match what I saw from Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair. But sadly, this one didn’t really feel all that special. This wasn’t bad by any means – both women mixed in some brutal exchanges to keep the crowd alive. Plus that DDT from Asuka to Rhea off the ring apron was certainly a highlight.
But the action felt like it moved at an all too slow pace, plus there were bouts of repetition sprinkled in as the crowd was treated to one too many kicks from Asuka. There weren’t any cool counters or any WrestleMania-worthy moments to speak of here – this match was good, but it just didn’t feel all that special as it wore on. Rhea’s the new champion, which is a plus. But I’m kind of disappointed at the fact that it came after a pretty basic encounter.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman and Jey Uso) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Universal Championship)
Reactions: Damn, that was a great Triple Threat Match! And what made it so memorable was a number of contributing factors – Jey Uso’s repeated interference, Daniel Bryan’s resilience, Edge’s willingness to use ringside weaponry to get ahead, and Roman Reigns’ explosiveness all came together in an amazing way. This match kept me glued to the TV as all three men got embroiled in some unforgettable spots.
Edge looked to tap out Roman with a crossface while he held a piece of a steel chair in the “Tribal Chief’s” mouth, which then led to Daniel running in to lock in one of his own to produce a double submission lock. Roman jaw jacked with the audience before he smashed Daniel into the announcer’s table with a sick powerbomb. And Daniel Bryan landed a gut-busting kick on Roman that looked especially painful. This main event delivered in spades and truly anointed Roman as the most unstoppable champion in WWE with that final, double-man pin. Round of applause for everyone involved here.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Match of the Night
Roman Reigns vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan!
Coming into this year’s WrestleMania, Night 2 stood out to me as the card that would be the strongest of the entire weekend. But after watching both nights of ‘Mania 37 action unfold, I’m a bit surprised to feel that Night 1 ultimately came out on top. Night 2 wasn’t a complete bust by any means – the Women’s Tag Team Championship bout, Owens/Zayn, Riddle/Sheamus, and the Universal Championship main event all delivered.
But the two matches I was super excited about (Big E/Crews and Ripley/Asuka) didn’t exactly meet the high expectations I had for them. The first match ended way too soon and had a letdown of an ending, while the second one felt a bit too routine and far from a WrestleMania-worthy meeting. Because of those two disappointments and a garage opener, Night 2 of ‘Mania 37 comes behind Night 1. Even still, I enjoyed the majority of Sunday evening’s festivities and was happy to watch a fun ‘Mania show in front of actual fans once again.
Final Score: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars