Best and Worst Booking Decisions from WWE WrestleMania 2021 Results
Night 1 of WrestleMania 37, WWE's first event with fans in attendance for over a year, was both historic and highly enjoyable. Most of the matches were well-received and delivered from an in-ring standpoint, making for a satisfying Show of Shows on the whole.
The main event of the evening saw Bianca Belair beat Sasha Banks in a terrific match for the SmackDown Women's Championship. Bobby Lashley successfully retained his WWE Championship in the night's other major marquee bout.
On the undercard, new Raw tag team champions were crowned when AJ Styles and Omos took the titles from The New Day. Cesaro also scored the biggest win of his career, while Bad Bunny put on the performance of a lifetime against The Miz and John Morrison.
A rain delay started the show on an underwhelming note, but the circumstances did force WWE to get creative and give the talent the chance to cut promos that felt largely unscripted. Other than that, the three hours flew by and were filled with memorable moments.
If Night 2 is anywhere near as entertaining, then WrestleMania 37 will be remembered as being one of the stronger installments in recent memory.
The following were the best and worst booking decisions that made up Night 1.
Best: Bobby Lashley Retains His WWE Championship in Clean Fashion
Despite being booked to be supremely dominant over the last number of months, Bobby Lashley was considered the underdog heading into his WWE Championship clash with Drew McIntyre.
It made all the sense in the world for the Scot to regain the gold one year removed from being robbed of his WrestleMania moment in front of fans. Once it was announced that he and The All Mighty would be kicking off the evening, the odds of a McIntyre victory increased even more.
The two had a hard-hitting affair, but in the end, it was Lashley who had his hand raised after forcing The Scottish Warrior to pass out. It came as a legitimate shock to the audience, but it was the best possible outcome, especially since it was as clean as it could be.
Although Lashley has been on a tear for almost a year now, he's only been WWE champion for just over a month. To cut it short so soon would have been a mistake, and now McIntyre can continue to chase it. The program is more compelling that way than it would have been with the roles reversed.
It's also possible Lashley moves on to other challengers from the Raw roster before rekindling his rivalry with McIntyre later in the summer.
Best: Omos Emerges Victorious in in-Ring Debut and Becomes a Champion
For as little in-ring experience as he apparently had going in, Omos did exceptionally well in his debut match at 'Mania.
First and foremost, putting him in the tag team setting was brilliant on WWE's part. Granted, the Raw Tag Team Championship match was a waste of AJ Styles, but there weren't any other obvious opponents for him at the event and entering the tag team division is something he's never done before.
As for Omos, he was wisely kept limited throughout, and when he ultimately tagged in at the end, it felt like a big deal. The crowd was anxious to see what he had in his arsenal, and he didn't disappoint.
He won't be contesting five-star mat classics any time soon, but Omos being booked as a dominant bodyguard Styles can win with is extremely smart. Big E failed to become tag team champion when he made his in-ring debut at WrestleMania 29, but it was more important for Omos to show some signs of being a competent performer and he did just that.
Raw's tag team division is so depleted at the moment that putting the belts on Styles and Omos as tag champions for a while is different and could make for a few fun matchups.
Worst: Natalya and Tamina Survive Tag Team Turmoil
The sole blemish on the WrestleMania 37 Night 1 card was the women's tag team turmoil match. The in-ring action was subpar, it didn't have the strongest layout and above all else, it had the wrong outcome.
The WWE women's tag team division is already a mess as it is. Very few of the teams actually mean anything because of how they've been booked, but the one team that should have got a WWE Women's Tag Team Championship shot on Night 2, The Riott Squad, did not.
Rather, it was Natalya and Tamina who picked up the victory after lastly eliminating The Riott Squad. They've been portrayed as the seasoned veterans of the division who are done waiting for their opportunity, but never once throughout their time together have they been remotely interesting.
They have yet to receive a shot at the tag titles because there's no reason for them to be in that position. Their match against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler will likely be the weakest part of Night 2 unless a third team is somehow added at the last minute.
It would have been nice to have a quality secondary women's match on Night 1 outside of the main event, but that wasn't the case. It could have been way worse, of course, but it paled in comparison to everything else on the show.
Best: Cesaro Scores Huge Momentum-Building Win over Seth Rollins
Momentum is clearly on Cesaro's side, arguably now more than ever. It was crucial he walked out of WrestleMania the victor against Seth Rollins and he did just that.
The match itself was as great as expected, with both men putting in a great effort. Their chemistry was terrific and the crowd was completely behind The Swiss Cyborg the entire time.
After hitting a second Neutralizer, Cesaro pinned the four-time WWE world champion for the three-count. It was the only logical outcome as Rollins wouldn't have gained anything from winning.
With this win, the Swiss Superstar should be catapulted into the universal title picture. Regardless of who wins the Triple Threat main event on Night 2, he'd have an outstanding match with any of them.
This is Cesaro's time to shine, and WWE needs to capitalize on it. What happens from here remains to be seen, but the important thing is that he won when it mattered most in his first-ever singles outing at WrestleMania against an elite talent.
Best: Bianca Belair's SmackDown Women's Championship Win Headlines the Night
Until Friday, it was difficult to tell which match would main-event Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 between Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre and Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair.
Both bouts were high-profile contests, but it seemed McIntyre and Lashley were getting more of the spotlight on Raw each week than Banks and Belair were on SmackDown.
Ideally, it made the most sense to have the two Royal Rumble winners close both nights of WrestleMania, but that wasn't the case on Saturday night. However, despite its lackluster build, Banks vs. Belair was worthy of headlining the event and much more significant than Lashley vs. McIntyre.
Thankfully, WWE announced early Friday that Banks-Belair would take the main event spot while McIntyre and Lashley would open the show, which was the best decision the company could have made. As exciting as their match was, it couldn't hold a candle to the wrestling clinic The Boss and The EST of WWE put on.
Banks brought her best as always and Belair showed she belonged in such a spot. They excelled under the pressure, and the positioning of the match on the card made The EST's title win mean that much more.
The emotion Belair exuded afterward made for a fantastic close to the show, and as the first-ever 'Mania main event to pit two Black women against each other in a singles match, it was clear the right choice was made to have them headline the historic event.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.