WWE WrestleMania 2021: Will Sunday's Matches Be Able to Top Saturday's Card?
The sheer amount of goodwill that WWE built up throughout Saturday's better-than-expected Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 has fans excited about what is to come Sunday.
The question, though, after a night that exceeded expectations and ended with one of the most emotional main events in recent history, is can the Superstars of WWE deliver matches that can top Saturday's slate?
The answer, in short, is "yes."
Confidence can be attributed to three factors: hotter feuds leading into the event, better matchups on paper and the roster's motivation to eclipse the bar set by their peers just 24 hours earlier.
The following matches have been announced for Sunday's Night 2 of WrestleMania 37:
- Triple Threat match for the Universal Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. Edge vs. Roman Reigns
- The Fiend vs. Randy Orton
- Raw Women's Championship match: Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka
- United States Championship match: Riddle vs. Sheamus
- Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Championship: Big E vs. Apollo Crews
- Women's Tag Team Championship match: Natalya and Tamina vs. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler
- Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
The build to the Triple Threat match pitting Roman Reigns against Edge and Daniel Bryan for his Universal Championship is easily the best storyline leading into this year's WrestleMania.
Throw in the winding road to The Fiend's WrestleMania return against Randy Orton and Rhea Ripley's much-anticipated Raw debut, and you have matches Sunday night that had fans buzzing well before they arrived in Florida for the biggest night on the wrestling calendar.
History tells us matches with better builds, more intriguing storylines and greater heat are remembered more fondly in WrestleMania lore than those thrown together late or that limped into the event with little in the way of anticipation behind them.
Night 1 had plenty of them, including a steel cage match built on one grown man calling another grown man "stupid," a celebrity-centered tag match hyped through unfunny rap videos and the main event that initially revolved around a sommelier.
If those matches thrived on the roar of the live audience and the raw emotion of performing in front of fans again, the contests with actual backstories should be able to exceed them fairly easily once fans react to the top stars and champions.
And if they don't, what appears to be a significantly better card should help.
Better Matchups (On Paper)
Expectations were fairly low for some key matches on the Night 1 card.
The steel cage match between Braun Strowman and Shane McMahon, in particular, felt like a match destined to underwhelm. No one knew what they were getting out of Bad Bunny once the bell rang, and even Omos overperformed.
While there were a lot of unknowns surrounding Saturday's card that brought about hesitation, that is not the case Sunday.
We know Sheamus and Riddle could easily steal the show with what is sure to be an incredibly physical United States Championship match.
We have seen Big E and Apollo Crews tear the house down with fiercely competitive Intercontinental Championship matches on SmackDown.
Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns have the best chemistry of any pairing on the WrestleMania card, and when you add Edge into the equation, there is no reason to believe they cannot have a Match of the Year candidate.
And none of that takes into consideration the fact that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have stolen many a show before, while Rhea Ripley and Asuka are talented enough to equal Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair to make WrestleMania Night 2 theirs.
Of course, there are variables that could affect the quality of said matches, including the Nigerian Drum Fight stipulation accompanying the intercontinental title contest, celebrity involvement in Owens vs. Zayn or how time is dispersed throughout the card.
Still, the performers, their history together and established chemistry would seem to suggest Sunday's lineup will thrive. But if for some reason it struggles, never underestimate the power of motivation.
Saturday night's card set the bar incredibly high. Everyone overperformed, including those contesting matches that had high expectations. Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley tore the house down in the opening match, while Banks vs. Belair was every bit the epic, historic, industry-changing main event we hoped it would be.
If you don't think for a moment Roman Reigns, Edge, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Asuka, Rhea Ripley, Big E, Riddle, Sheamus, Natalya and the rest of the roster understand how important it is to go out and put an exclamation point on this year's show and are motivated to deliver their best, you probably haven't found yourself overcome by the spirit of competition frequently.
After a night when social media buzzed with praise for the performances, booking and emotion, there will undoubtedly be those backstage Sunday who see Night 2 as the opportunity to eclipse even the best from its predecessor.
The talent is there. The build, the hype and the potential are too.
There is no denying the raw feeling of being in front of a live audience after more than a year spent performing for television screens and Performance Center trainees, but if the Superstars booked Sunday night simply meet rather than exceed expectations, they should have no problem overcoming the bar set by Saturday's crowd-pleasing first act.