WWE WrestleMania 37 Results: Star Ratings for All Matches from Saturday's CardApril 11, 2021
WWE WrestleMania 37 Results: Star Ratings for All Matches from Saturday's Card
Star ratings in professional wrestling are subjective, representing the adjudicator's preferences but also providing a glimpse into whether a particular match or event succeeded in what it set out to accomplish.
Saturday, on Night 1 of WrestleMania 37, WWE set out to deliver a blockbuster spectacle that returned fans to the stands and provided them unforgettable in-ring content with some feel-good stories and championship switches to boot.
It did just that, and the star ratings for the night's seven-match card reflect as much.
From the instant-classic main event for the SmackDown Women's Championship to Braun Strowman's pleasantly surprising steel cage clash with Shane McMahon and Bad Bunny's first official match to Drew McIntyre's attempt to regain the WWE Championship in the opener, the show exceeded expectations.
Relive Night 1 of this year's Showcase of the Immortals with these ratings, presented to the matches based on a mixture of in-ring content and storytelling within.
WWE Championship Match: Bobby Lashley Defeated Drew McIntyre
Anyone who remembered last year's Backlash pay-per-view and Drew McIntyre's WWE Championship defense against Bobby Lashley knew to expect a hard-hitting, physical match to kick off WrestleMania.
With Lashley defending and McIntyre challenging, the roles were reversed, but the outcome was another highly competitive match that saw McIntyre throw everything he had at Lashley. He executed a trio of Future Shock DDTs to no avail and even broke out the kimura, learned during his feud with Brock Lesnar, but he could not force a submission out of The All Mighty.
Ultimately, a perfectly timed distraction by MVP forced McIntyre's focus to shift just long enough for Lashley to dodge a Claymore and put away his challenger with The Hurt Lock.
The physicality, strong near-falls and a dive over the top by McIntyre that had the Scottish Warrior resembling a certain Phenom who used to patrol the ring at WrestleMania helped elevate the opener and provide fans a damn good welcome back into the arena.
A hotter start, and it would have been even better.
Star Rating: ***¾
Natalya and Tamina Win Tag Team Turmoil
Time was a factor for the Tag Team Turmoil match to determine the No. 1 contenders to Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler's Women's Tag Team Championship, and it showed.
The early portion of the match was ugly, messy and disjointed. It was a rushed mess that concluded with Billie Kay and Carmella eliminating Lana and Naomi. Then The Riott Squad rallied off two straight eliminations of the heels and the team of Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke.
Even the ring announcer flubbed his call—the perfect representation of the match as a whole.
Luckily, things settled down and improved drastically with the emergence of Natalya and Tamina from the locker room. While it was still not a pretty match by any means, their showdown with Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan at least resembled a wrestling match and not just a flurry of moves for moves' sake.
Tamina and Natalya picked up the win, cashing their ticket to Night 2, when they will hopefully have more time to tell their story with Jax and Baszler.
Star Rating: *½
Cesaro Defeated Seth Rollins
Cesaro and Seth Rollins could have an average wrestling match by just showing up in the same ring together. They are virtuoso performers who have made careers out of being the best workers wherever they are.
Expectations were lofty as they took to the ring Saturday night, and while they may not have had the event-defining match some pundits had hoped for, they still delivered a damn fine wrestling match that provided Cesaro with the WrestleMania moment he so richly deserved.
It was the Swiss Superman's first singles match on the grand stage, and he was understandably amped up, ready to prove he belonged in that spot against a former world champion in Rollins.
The early intensity was exactly what fans wanted out of the match, while the chemistry between the performers was undeniable.
The story entering the match was Cesaro's determination to deliver his famed swing on Rollins, and he looked for it early and often. The entire match built to that one spot, and by the time he finally grabbed hold of Rollins' ankles and proceeded to swing him 'round and 'round 23 times, the fans in Raymond James Stadium came unglued.
The Neutralizer followed and an emotional Cesaro celebrated his win, knowing full well he had accomplished exactly what he set out to and enjoyed the moment a performer of his caliber earned a long time ago.
Had the match focused less on the swing and allowed the performers to pack more into their minutes in the ring, it may have been an all-timer. It stayed true to its backstory, though, and still delivered in spades.
Star rating: ***½
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: AJ Styles and Omos Defeated The New Day
Regardless of whether great professional wrestlers like AJ Styles, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were involved, the Raw Tag Team Championship match was never going to be a classic encounter. It had one purpose: introduce Omos as an in-ring presence and put him over huge.
The match accomplished exactly that.
Styles took a beating for eight or so minutes before tagging in Omos. The big man roughed up Woods and Kingston, whose facial expressions perfectly reflected the predicament they found themselves in.
The Phenomenal Forearm executed by Styles off Omos' shoulders was a beautiful spot and the most memorable moment of the match.
Whichever producer was responsible for the match laid it out to perfection, as the crowd's roar when Omos stepped over the top rope proved. He generated exactly the reaction WWE officials were hoping for when they made the conscious effort to minimize his physical involvement.
That does not mean it was a great wrestling match or that the booking will be in any way reflected with the star rating, but WWE suddenly has a great big-man attraction on its hands if it can resist the urge to overexpose him in the wake of Saturday's event.
Star rating: *½
Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman Defeated Shane McMahon
If you look up the definition of overdelivering, you are likely to find the above image of Braun Strowman breaking through the side of a steel cage to get his hands on Shane McMahon.
The match between The Monster Among Men and Shane-O-Mac was accompanied by such a historically bad storyline that expectations were hell's-basement low. Thanks to some superb booking, great storytelling and Strowman's determination to have a quality WrestleMania match for the first time in his career, the performers turned in a genuinely pleasant surprise.
McMahon using a cookie sheet to try to halt the momentum of his massive opponent was a smart choice, as was having the prodigal son do everything in his power to evade the oncoming freight train that was Strowman.
By the time The Strowman Express got rolling, though, he pummeled McMahon. No interference from Jaxson Ryker and Elias or use of a toolbox as a weapon could stop him from avenging weeks of degradation and humiliation at the hands of his opponent.
Strowman was smart, focused and vengeful, and that mix made for his best booking and strongest 'Mania performance to date as he picked up the win over McMahon. Kudos to Shane too, for bumping all over the ring to make Braun look like an unstoppable force. The spot off the top of the cage was jaw-dropping and something only McMahon would be able to pull off.
Star rating: ***
Bad Bunny and Damian Priest Defeated The Miz and John Morrison
No one knew what to expect out of Bad Bunny entering his tag team match with Damian Priest against The Miz and John Morrison.
We knew he was a lifelong fan and super respectful of the business, but that does not a great match at WrestleMania make. There was reason to believe the contest would be overly long or the sort of overbooked mess WWE sometimes produces.
Instead, what occurred was the best performance by a celebrity this side of Pat McAfee and a match that exceeded all expectations.
Bad Bunny not only rocked Miz early with rights and lefts, but he also broke out lucha libre-inspired offense to keep him off guard. When the time came for selling, he put over his opponents' offense, never once acting as if being a celebrity made him immune to doing so.
He approached the match with a seriousness and respect you hope all outsiders would and then upped the ante with a top-rope plancha to the floor and a mother-freaking Canadian Destroyer on Morrison to boot.
Lost in all of the hype surrounding the Grammy-winning rapper was the fact that this was also Priest's first WrestleMania. The Archer of Infamy took it in stride and was the glue that held things together on the babyface side. His performance, as well as Miz and Morrison directing Bad Bunny throughout, cannot be overstated.
Like most of the matches on the card, it was better than it had any right to be. Bunny's performance inspired a positive reaction from a passionate audience that is not always kind to celebrities infiltrating their world.
Star rating: ***½
SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Bianca Belair Defeated Sasha Banks
The emotion that filled Raymond James Stadium as Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks entered for their SmackDown Women's Championship match was undeniable. It hung over the pre-match introductions and painted the challenger's face as she teared up upon realizing the enormity of the moment. Banks matched her with a smile, the contest serving as a realization of her life's work.
For the first time, two women main-evented WrestleMania in a one-on-one match. For the first time, two Black women competed for a title on wrestling's grandest stage. For the first time, two Black professional wrestlers squared off in the marquee match of the show.
History was made before the first lock-up, but what that tie-up ignited was one of the best WrestleMania main events in recent memory.
Banks seized control of the match like to GOAT she is. Belair fought from underneath, having to overcome the champion expertly and cerebrally utilizing her ponytail as a weapon against her. She did, though, showing off the agility and raw power that got her there.
After surviving a Bank Statement, originally applied using said ponytail, a frustrated Belair whipped Banks with it, leaving a huge welt across her side. Stunned, The Boss could not defend against the Kiss of Death, which Belair utilized to win the title in one of the greatest feel-good moments in the event's long history.
Banks was masterful, putting Belair in every position to succeed, while the 2021 women's Royal Rumble winner proved the moment was not too big for her. The women seized the spotlight, delivered a dramatic and physically intense main event that heralded a new era for women's wrestling, crowned a new queen and firmly established Banks as the best to ever do it.
Star rating: ****