By Jamie Miller
Greetings Nightlighters, it is I “vicious” Jamie Miller here with another issue of Nightlight. Now as you know by now I am a huge fan of wrestling, especially “Wrestlemania”. I’ve always loved it, the matches, the pageantry (especially the entrances), the attires, and the matches. I was so excited about this show, I bought the “Peacock” app that has now taken hold of the WWE Network. I was ecstatic that live fans were back for the first time since early 2020 as the show is just not the same without them. I was pumped, to say the least, the results however were a mixed bag. Just how mixed you might ask, well keep reading.
The show, which took place over Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, began night one with the owner of The WWE Vince McMahon welcoming the fans back in person for the first time. The most memorable thing from that segment for me was him referring to the company as the WWE family, which is a joke knowing how WWE treats their wrestlers, except I’m not laughing. Apparently whoever’s upstairs felt the same because after Bebe Rexha sang America The Beautiful, they had a weather delay. They also had issues with the mic during one of the backstage interviews as well as having one of the commentators’ mic failing on air. Once they finally got this under control, co-hosts Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan came out to hype up the crowd. The fact they paired O’Neil, a Black wrestler, and Hogan (who has some backward thoughts on the Black community) made for an awkward interaction. Among the highlights of this segment are O’Neil looking uncomfortable throughout for obvious reasons, and Hogan being booed the second he started talking.
The in-ring portion of night one seriously began with Bobby Lashley accompanied to the ring by MVP defending his WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre. Pay in mind, the WWE Championship, in addition to being perhaps WWE’s oldest title still in service, is also one of their most prestigious and yet it was contested in the first match of the evening – a lackluster placement. The match itself wasn’t bad. McIntyre and Lashley had some good back and forth. The match ended when McIntyre passed out in Lashley’s “Hurt lock,” a very brutal-looking full nelson. The match wasn’t bad, it was a great way to start the show, however, the fact that this was placed in the beginning was strange. I give it five torches out of 10.
This was followed by a Women’s Tag Team Turmoil Match for a shot at the Women’s Tag Team Title on night two. Basically, the rules are two teams begin, every time a team is eliminated, another takes their place. This goes on until one team is left standing. The team of Natalya and Tamina won by last eliminating The Riott Squad, composed of Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott. That and the fact that one of the wrestlers slipped and fell on her way to the ring are all I have to say. The match was just kinda forgettable. I give it just barely two torches out of 10, just kinda meh.
Next, Cesaro battled with Seth “Freakin” Rollins, this match was pretty good. At one point, Cesaro swung Rollins around balanced on his shoulders without even holding onto him. In the end, Cesaro nailed Rollins with his Neutralizer for the win. This was a nice no-stakes entertaining match. I give it a solid five torches out of 10. Pretty good.
After that, The New Day, composed of Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods defended their WWE Raw Tag Team Championships against AJ Styles and his monster of a bodyguard Omas. Most of the match was The New Day desperately trying to stop Styles from tagging Omas in… Eventually, he did and Omas proceeded to roll right through the champs finally pinning Kingston with one foot. I give this match four and a half torches out of 10. Not a bad match, although the second I saw Omas the result was rather obvious. Not to mention The New Day, who are faces, were using a lot of heel tactics such as ganging up on Styles which made it rather confusing.
This was followed by Braun Strowman facing Shane McMahon in a Steel Cage match. The only way to win this match is pinfall, submission or escaping the cage. Despite being attacked by Elias and Jaxson Ryker before the match began Strowman maintained control throughout. In the final moments of the match, McMahon paused on the outside of the cage wall to taunt Strowman who grabbed him by the hand, then the throat, finally ripping apart the cage wall to drag McMahon back in. He then tossed him from the top of the cage back into the ring, finally flattening McMahon with a power slam for the quick one, two, three. This was a pretty good match actually. Sure I find it a bit unbelievable that McMahon could even be a nuisance to Strowman let alone a threat, but to even watch pro wrestling you have to suspend a certain amount of disbelief. Strowman ripping the cage wall part was especially entertaining. I give this five and a half torches out of 10.
Next, this season’s celebrity entertainer, Bad Bunny accompanied by Damien Priest went to war with The Miz and John Morrison. Most of the match was The Miz going after Bad Bunny. Eventually Bunny and Priest got the win. I give this five torches out of 10. Bunny nailing a Canadian Destroyer on Morrison outside the ring was pretty sweet.
In Saturday’s main event, Sasha Banks defended The Smackdown Women’s Championship against Bianca Belair. This was the standout match for night one by a long shot in addition to being the first Wrestlemania main event with two Black wrestlers in it, let alone two Black female wrestlers. This match was great, my favorite moment being when Belair gorilla pressed Banks outside the ring then walked with her in that position up the ring steps and back into the ring showcasing her impressive strength. Belair won the match and the title making Belair the first Black wrestler to win a title in the main event of “Wrestlemania”. I gotta say I didn’t expect too much going into this match WWE women’s matches are designed to either be great or meh with no in-between… Never have I been so happy to be wrong, I give this match seven and a half torches out of 10.
Night two began with Ashland Craft singing America the Beautiful.
The in-ring action began with Randy Orton waging war against The Fiend, a wrestler who looks as if he stepped right out of a Rob Zombie film. This match was … interesting. It began with Alexa Bliss walking out to a giant Jack-in-the-box next to the ring. The Fiend then rose out of it and leaped onto Orton to start the match. The Fiend controlled most of the match, absorbing most of Orton’s offense like a sponge. However, at the end of the match Bliss who was sitting on top of the box somehow triggered pyro from the ring corners and began bleeding a black, ooze-like substance, this allowed Orton to nail the distracted Fiend with an RKO for the ole one, two, three. The Fiend then rose to his feet a bit after and the lights went out. When they came back on, both The Fiend and Bliss were gone. This match is, well… I don’t really know what it was. It was entertaining, but it was also really weird like most Fiend matches. I give it five and a half torches out of 10.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler then defended their WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles against Natalya and Tamina. Not much to say about this match. It ended when Natalya locked Nia Jax in a sharpshooter, not knowing that Baszler was the one tagged in. Baszler came up behind Natalya and locked her in a Kirifuda clutch, putting her to sleep, and retaining the titles for her team. I give this match five torches out of 10. Not a bad match but nothing too special.
After this, we had a barn burner between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Logan Paul was at Zayn’s corner ringside for… reasons? These two waged absolute war on each other. At one point, Zayn nailed Owens with a brainbuster on the ring apron, finally, Owens got the win with a stunner. Paul then came into the ring to congratulate Owens. Paul and Zayn got into an argument, and Paul shoved Zayn who then left the ring. Paul then rose Owens’s hand, who responded by nailing him with a stunner that would have made Stone Cold Steve Austin proud, to the delight of me and the crowd. I give this match six torches out of 10. Paul getting nailed with a stunner was a personal favorite part of mine.
After this fight, we got another in the form of Riddle vs Sheamus for The United States Championship. This was an Irish bar fight in the form of a pro-wrestling match. The two kneed and punched the crap out of each other throughout the match. In the finale of the match, Riddle went for a moonsault only to have Sheamus Brogue kick him mid-flip and pin him to win the match. I loved this match namely for the ending, I always love creative endings. I give it six and a half torches out of 10.
Next, Big E defended The Intercontinental Championship against Apollo Crews in a “Nigerian Drum Fight”, which is basically an extreme rules match with drums and gongs. This match actually impressed me with how hard-hitting it was at times. The two laid into each other with kendo sticks, and drums. The match ended when a mysterious large man laid out Big E allowing Crews to pin him and win the match… And the title, I give this match five torches out of 10. A pretty good match, although the ending was kinda meh, and the slight racial stereotypes made me feel, well as I said meh.
Next, Asuka defended her Raw Women’s Championship against Rhea Ripley. The promo before this match was great, especially when they showed Ripley literally flip a table into Asuka’s face. The two had a good back and forth, but Ripley got the win after hitting Asuka with the Riptide.
Hogan and O’Neil then came back out to thank the fans. They were interrupted by Bayley who said she was tired of being disrespected by the legends of the past. The recently inducted WWE Hall Of Famers, The Bella Twins, then appeared and attacked Bayley sending her rolling down the ramp.
In the main event, Roman Reigns accompanied by Jey Uso and Paul Heyman defended his WWE Universal Championship against both Daniel Bryan and Edge in a Triple Threat Match. Basically, this is where three wrestlers do battle with the first wrestler to pin or submit one of the others wins. There are no disqualifications, which was good for this match, as the three battered each other. At one point after Uso interfered, Edge nailed him with a Edgecution on the steel ring steps. The match ended after Edge performed a Con Chair To onto Bryan, only to be nailed with one himself by Reigns shortly after. Reigns then pinned both opponents at the same time to win the match and retain his title. This was the standout match of night two. Perhaps even better than Belair vs Banks simply because of its brutality. I give it eight torches out of 10.
All in all, Wrestlemania 37 wasn’t a bad show. Although many of the matches were just ok, Banks vs Belair for the Women’s Smackdown Champ and the Triple Threat Match were definitely the standouts of the show. The fact that Hogan was there at all and McMahon’s utter hypocrisy at the beginning annoyed me. Definitely not the worst Wrestlemania ever but also not the best. Still, I give it six torches out of 10.