One year, one month, one day; that was the opening line for Saturday night one of WrestleMania weekend. The night started with a 40-minute weather delay in Tampa and we were treated to several impromptu backstage interviews and promos. We also had a hot mic moment from Kayla Braxton and an awkward appearance from our WrestleMania co-hosts; Warrior Award Winner, Titus O’Neil, and the disgraced Hulk Hogan. How did the WWE do on night one of WrestleMania with a crowd? Let’s move forward:
WWE Championship, Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre
What better way to open WrestleMania than with the WWE Championship and start with a bang? Lashley and McIntyre are legitimate heavyweights and they did the match justice by throwing it down in the ring. The fact that Lashley’s finishing move is the Full Nelson and that he retained his championship, using an old school move that was respected and not broken, was a fantastic finish.
Tag Team Turmoil: WWE Womens Tag Team #1 contender match
Apparently, tag-team turmoil starts with two teams and the additional two teams join as one is eliminated, making absolutely zero sense. Unfortunately, the crowd silence throughout the match sends WWE a message that without Charlotte, Bailey, and Becky Lynch, the booking in the Women’s Division is going backwards.
I find Billy Kay one of the most entertaining performers in the WWE. I hope the company continues to give her air time, even if her role is similar to R-Truth as comedy relief. The Riott Squad, the only legitimate tag team that was not thrown together, should have gone over. Instead, we get two heel teams in night two, both thrown together for reasons unknown.
Not a good sign that the first night back for the fans and they were already bored two matches in. Heck, even the ring announcer fumbled his line.
Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro
First of all please give us back the Architect Rollins from a few years ago. This version of Rollins embraces the vision, whatever it is boring, to say the least. Cesaro gets his first singles match after ten years and the spotlight was on him. Rollins broke out a corkscrew splash from the top rope, which was impressive.
The Swiss Cyborg, Cesaro, used his arsenal, including the neutralizer, the cesaro swing a total of 36 times and about a thousand European uppercuts, to lead into the two spots of the night; a handless shoulder swing and a European uppercut to counter the Rollins stomp. The match started slow but ended with the crowd impressed with Cesaro. Well done.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship: The New Day (c) vs. AJ Styles & Omos
The New Day is played out, I just said it. One of the greatest tag teams of all time has been oversaturated and has won too much, similar to how Cena became stale. They are simply there to cater to young children and to sell tons of merchandise.
A colleague of mine brought up a great similarity to Style’s partner Omos; he is of similar stature, character, and role that Mr. Hughes played back in the day. Larger than life and someone who I believe would make a marquee match with Shaq at WrestleMania marketable next year. Omos is awesome and will not be heel long because everybody loves him. He is supposed to be a monster with some dry humor, who is quiet and all business. The total opposite of how Strowman is portrayed as a giant cry baby dummy.
As new RAW tag team champions, I want Styles to spend the first three minutes getting his butt kicked, before tagging Omos to finish their opponents off each time. I’m interested in how this team progresses.
Steel Cage Match: Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon
This was teased as a match between brawn and brains. We all watched this match, waiting for some spectacular spot from Shane-O-Mac and he did not fail to deliver. He was thrown from the top of the steel cage, with a beautiful flip on the way down, for another WrestleMania moment. If WWE hadn’t given Stowman the Big Show treatment by making him dumb and beatable from anyone, this match would give more justice for using the cage. Unfortunately, it did not.
The Miz & Morrison vs. Bad Bunny & Damien Priest
Going into this match my expectations were at a 0/10 and I came away very impressed. Up to this point, this was by far the match of the night. Whoever trained Bad Bunny deserves a round of applause and a huge bonus. The Miz also did a fantastic job selling Bad Bunny’s ability, and his Hollywood acting was on display.
The crowd has loved the match, and Bad Bunny made all the doubters believe that he could be a legitimate athlete in a WrestleMania match as a celebrity. He also had the best entrance thus far.
WWE Smackdown Womens Championship: Sasha Banks (c) vs. Bianca Belair (Women’s Royal Rumble Winner)
The main event was of historic proportions. For only the second time, the Women were the main event of a WrestleMania and for the first time at WrestleMania, the same main event included two individuals of color. This makes this one of the most historic moments in WrestleMania history from a sports entertainment angle and more importantly, a foundational moment for women and people of color.
Additionally, the match was truly a spectacle from the entrances to the crowd participation, action in the ring, the storytelling, and the climax of the night, with Belair achieving the ultimate pinnacle, the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Overall Rating for WrestleMania Saturday Night
The show started strong with Lashley retaining the WWE Championship and finished historically strong to send the crowd home and excited for night two. The rest of the night was simply average with a few great spots, but nothing worth bringing up in all-time great WrestleMania conversations. What’s in store for night two as WWE looks to finish WrestleMania strong?
Overall Rating 7/10