After a year of no fans, WrestleMania 37 opened in an unexpected way: With a weather delay. Tampa, Florida’s Raymond James Stadium is open-air, and experienced heavy rain and thunder in the hours preceding the show. Michael Cole opened the main show at 5 p.m. PT explaining that there was a delay to wait for the weather to clear up. It took about 30 minutes for that to happen, with backstage promos and interviews filling the time. A bizarre half hour.
Stillin front of fans. WrestleMania 37, which takes place on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 , is the first WWE pay-per-view to take place in front of a live crowd . No amount of rain can drown the excitement over that.
The main event of Night 1 will see Bianca Belair challenge Sasha Banks for the latter’s SmackDown Women’s Championship, as well as Drew McIntyre defending his WWE Championship. Other bouts include Braun Strowman versus Shane McMahon in a steel cage and, my personally most anticipated match, Cesaro versus Seth Rollins..
Check back to this page from 5 p.m PT/8 p.m. ET on Saturday as the main card of WrestleMania 37 Night 1 begins, as I’ll be updating it with results and analysis from the show.
Tag Team Turmoil match
The tag team turmoil match to determine the number one contenders for the Women’s Tag Team Championships is up next.
Bobby Lashley retains WWE Championship
WrestleMania opens with a shocker: Bobby Lashley beat Drew McIntyre with the Hurt Lock. McIntyre didn’t tap out, Cole was eager to point out, he passed out.
It started slow, but the match ended up being very good. It began with standard stuff, exchanging moves in the ring with some brawling on the outside. It picked up about halfway through when McIntyre hit a trifecta of Future Shock DDTs for a two count. Moments later, McIntyre hit a very impressive over-the-top-rope dive to Lashley on the outside, like Undertaker’s famous dive at WrestleMania 25.
Back in the ring, Lashley locks in the Hurt Lock but McIntyre powers out. The announcers are selling that McIntyre has one last weapon to use in the Claymore Kick. Sure enough, after a big boot, McIntyre sets up the Claymore. Here’s where things get dumb. McIntyre has it set up but, as he starts running for the kick, he’s distracting by MVP yelling from the outside. Like, he stops in his tracks to look at MVP.
Again: MVP yelled at him from the outside. Not even from the apron. And it stopped McIntyre. So bad.
Lashley then takes advantage and, after some more action, successfully locks in the Hurt Lock and McIntyre passes out.
Rating: 3.5 stars. Shock finish with good action. Would have been better without the confoundingly stupid “distraction.” We’ll have to see how this plays out, as it could be leading to something worthwhile, but it feels like a bad move to cut off McIntyre like this. He was protected strongly for the past year, and it looks like an abrupt change of course to have him pass out clean to Lashley, who though protected has been a midcard star for the past few years.
Weather delay opens the show
The Tampa, Florida area that’s housing WrestleMania had heavy rain and storms in the hours preceding WrestleMania, and the main show opened with Michael Cole explaining they have to delay the action for a few moments due to weather concerns. Brutal.
They’re now stalling with backstage interviews. We hear from Shane McMahon, before Bobby Lashley comes into the backstage area to talk trash about Drew McIntyre. McIntyre then joins the set and they get into a confrontation. Lashley is sequestered off and McIntyre cuts a fiery promo.
WWE is clearly stalling on the fly here, transitioning from backstage interviews to the kickoff-show panel to the announcer’s at ringside. The promos are actually pretty good, way better than the scripted stuff we see each week, but this is still grim.
At 5: 25 p.m. PT, Cole tells us the weather delay will end within five minutes. After a brief Bianca Belair interview, a promo for the WWE Championship match opens. Here we go.