WWE WrestleMania 2021 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights, Low Points from Night 1
WWE has advertised this year's WrestleMania 37 as being "back in business" after over a year with no fans in attendance. But after the first night of the annual classic, does business look good or is it still struggling?
With Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women's Championship, Drew McIntyre against Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship, the in-ring debut of Omos and more, there was plenty to look forward to, but potential doesn't always equate to success.
So, what were the standout moments? Presented in order of appearance, let's look back on the results of Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 and pinpoint its highlights and low points.
Full Match Results
WWE WrestleMania 37 Night 1 Results
- Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre by submission to retain the WWE Championship.
- Natalya and Tamina defeated Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose, Lana and Naomi, The Riott Squad, Billie Kay and Carmella in a tag team turmoil match to earn a title opportunity for the Women's Tag Team Championship on Night 2.
- Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins by pinfall.
- AJ Styles and Omos defeated The New Day by pinfall to win the Raw Tag Team Championships.
- Steel cage match: Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon by pinfall.
- Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated The Miz and John Morrison by pinfall.
- Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks by pinfall to win the SmackDown Women's Championship.
Low Point: Rain Delays
The universe works in mysterious ways, but the WWE Universe is even stranger. Of course, the first time with fans back in attendance, and at the most important show of the year, WrestleMania gets its first-ever rain delay.
This is one of those moments in history that feels too absurd to believe, but it happened.
It's also something no one can blame WWE for, so this isn't a low point on the same level of bad booking or match performances. It's just one of those things.
Luckily, this didn't result in too much disruption to the card. Let's just hope Sunday has a better weather report.
Highlight: Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley
After the rain delay forced everyone to wait even longer for the first match in front of fans, this match needed to deliver. Thankfully, it did.
Maybe it was the atmosphere helping out, but the crowd broke out a "this is awesome" chant. That was likely a huge morale boost backstage.
Beyond the athleticism of the contest, it was also good to see a result that covered all the bases.
Drew McIntyre got the honor of being the first Superstar for a year to get an entrance in front of a live crowd, if you discount the awful introduction from Hulk Hogan and Titus O'Neil, which could be argued as a low point.
Bobby Lashley, though, was able to retain the WWE Championship, which avoided any potential criticism that The All Mighty shouldn't have dropped the title so fast.
McIntyre didn't tap out, either. Passing out is the go-to move for a submission without making the loser appear weak.
If they had pitched this as a brutal slugfest just to have a bunch of rest holds or had a terrible ending, it would have set a bad tone for the rest of the night. Thankfully, this was what it needed to be and a great way to start the night.
Low Point: Tag Team Turmoil Match
This was an absolute mess in almost every way, from the in-ring action to the finish.
Mandy Rose fell on the ramp, there were wardrobe malfunctions, and Greg Hamilton incorrectly announced The Riott Squad as being eliminated at one point and had to correct himself.
But this was a generally lackluster match that ended with the winning team being the duo that had arguably the least amount of fan support going for them: Natalya and Tamina.
It's hard to find any arguments for this being a positive part of the show.
Low Point: Continued Issues with Peacock
This isn't entirely WWE's fault, but its partnership with Peacock for broadcasting means the company shares responsibility in issues like this.
The Peacock feed seems to be a few minutes behind every other medium, meaning you can't go on social media without potentially being spoiled for the end of each match.
There is still no ability to pause and rewind. If you missed something, too bad.
It also doesn't matter if you paid for the "no commercials" version, because you'll be bombarded with promotional material for products. WWE and Peacock can argue the semantics all they want, but those are commercials and not part of the regular program.
Everything with this current setup is a downgrade from what the WWE Network was before.
Highlight: Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
It's not the same as winning a world title, but Cesaro was finally able to score a big win.
For years, The Swiss Cyborg has toiled away in the midcard and tag team divisions without ever getting a singles push.
If he had lost to Seth Rollins, it would have been another sign that he has a ceiling. Instead, though, they had a great match and Cesaro walked away victorious.
WWE didn't muck it up by overbooking it, going with a swerve or feeling the need to remind fans it will push who it wants when it wants.
Rollins and Cesaro showed off some great maneuvers such as the UFO spin and a 23-turn swing, and the right man won.
Here's hoping the Swiss wrestler can ride this wave and continue to work toward a top spot.
Highlight: Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The Raw Tag Team Championships match was an odd ordeal...but a fun one for its unique feel.
While Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are babyfaces, they played heel in this match in a sense. It was all building toward Omos getting a hot tag that the crowd actually popped for.
Once that happened, this switched from a normal good match to something that felt more akin to a squash. But while that could have been problematic in most scenarios, this was an intriguing encounter.
Omos kept things basic, which was the smart move. He's likely not ready to pull off anything more, so WWE didn't aim higher and risk exposing his lack of experience.
Kicking off his in-ring career with a title win at WrestleMania is a great way to start, and the crowd reaction suggested we may have a star in the making.
And AJ Styles is now also a grand slam champion to cap the contest off.
Highlight: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon Steel Cage Match
It wasn't perfect, but Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon was a fun enough segment with one particular standout moment.
On the highlight reel for this event, you'll see The Monster Among Men throwing McMahon off the top of the steel cage. That was the biggest spot of the night and something true to form for both Superstars.
Another great moment came when Strowman ripped the cage fence apart in a bid to drag McMahon back into the ring. That's a twist we haven't seen before.
This was short enough to not overstay its welcome, had a happy ending and got the job done.
Highlight: Bad Bunny and Damian Priest vs. the Miz and John Morrison
Celebrities are never really expected to have a great match at WrestleMania. If they do a few moves without things looking terrible, that's usually good enough.
However, Bad Bunny was one of the most entertaining performers of the entire night.
His entrance, jumping from the top rope, doing a Canadian Destroyer and wrestling the majority of the match were all very impressive elements to his performance.
John Morrison and The Miz excelled in their roles as comedic heels, which they're among the best at. Damian Priest had his time to shine, too, which might prevent him getting lost in the shuffle like so many NXT call-ups do on the main roster.
This went off without a hitch and will give WWE much more media coverage than if someone else was in Bad Bunny's spot.
Expect the Grammy Award-winning singer to be a Hall of Famer in the future.
Highlight: Bianca Belair vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks
No one in WWE should pat themselves on the back for the storyline that led to Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair. That was woeful and didn't do either of these supremely talented performers justice.
Thankfully, the match itself turned out to be fantastic.
Of course, this was already a historic main event as the first time two Black women competed in a singles match on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
Belair had some particularly impressive moments, such as her extended vertical suplex sequence and when she caught Banks' suicide dive, walked up the steps and tossed her into the ring. The Boss never looked weak in the process of getting The EST of WWE over with those moves, either.
It was already a highlight before a winner was decided, but that was made even sweeter with Belair capturing the title.
WrestleMania ended the way it should have: with fans cheering a new champion being crowned and the best match of the night capping the event.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.