Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Ramblemania Rewind 37 - WWE Wrestlemania 37 (2021)

Date: April 10–11, 2021
Venue: Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Florida
Attendance Night 1: 17,946
Attendance Night 2: 18,501
Combined: 40,806

"It's Like Having Two Days Of Colonoscopies."
Jim Ross on two nights of Wrestlemania

For some reason, I found that quote from WWE Hall Of Famer, AEW Announcer, and former Dippin' Dots pitchman Jim Ross funny. And considering I've had my share of colonoscopies over the years, that certainly sounds like an apt analogy.

Wrestlemania 37 would be the first WWE show since the pandemic shut everything down to host a large number of fans. We're not quite at full capacity yet since COVID was still a prominent heel and we wouldn't get filled arenas until that year's Money In The Bank PPV (although AEW would beat them to the punch with their Double Or Nothing show from Daily's Place). Still, for what it's worth, the crowd was .

WWE decided to keep the two-night format that continues to this day, thus making Wrestlemania bigger than ever. Some people would question the decision to do this, but honestly, I thought it was the right move. A one-night Wrestlemania lasting ten hours or so was simply too much of a chore to sit through and since I would end up watching those shows over several nights, the decision to make two nights at three-ish hours a piece makes it much more manageable... so long as they keep it that length and not go overboard... as they are prone to doing.

April 10th, 2021

"The show opens with a bunch of promos because it's raining... right off the bat, it's already starting to feel like a colonoscopy and I can't blame WWE for this because that's the risk you take for running outdoor arenas; you're basically at the whims of Mother Nature and sometimes she doesn't care about your stupid little sports-entertainment show or whatever. But if you like history being made, the show ended with two colored people in the main event for the first time ever and the show began with the first ever rain stoppage in Mania history.

"All that aside, kudos to whoever made the decision to let the talent cut loose and do a bunch of unscripted promos to hype up their individual matches, because they got me looking forward to what has been a rather weak Mania card."

I kept this from the original post because they deleted the rained-in portion of the replay of the program, which I'd imagine was done for time constraints on the replay, but honestly, I recall this being the best part of the show. And if nothing else, it really does add credence to that old chestnut of "Anything can happen in WWE, including Mother Nature causing a delay. Man, what a heel."

Or maybe the world wasn't ready for Samoa Joe in a poncho.

Your future AEW World Heavyweight Champion, everyone.

Honestly, given the choice between nature running its course and the planned opening segment of Titus O'Neill and Hulk Hogan mucking it up on a stage together... well, fuck me, give me JOE IN PONCHO.

WWE World Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Drew McIntyre via Hurt Locker submission to retain the title. Kind of a surprise move at the time, because people assumed Drew would win the title back here so that he can get the Mania moment with fans watching that was robbed of him the previous year. Even now, I found this to be something of a baffling booking move, but besides that, I thought the match was already. Took a while to get going, but picked up steam towards the end... but yeah, kind of a shit move to have your first match back with fans end with the babyface hero failing to win his title back. Not a fan of that move.

Nattie and Tamina win a Turmoil match featuring a bunch of other women... Tag Team Turmoil being a thing where two teams fight, the losing team is replaced by another team and this keeps going until only two teams remain in this designated mess of a match. I skipped out on this match the first time around and I had to resist the urge to skip out on this one until about ten minutes when I just gave up and went for a quick sandwich. If you're going to showcase the women on your showcase of immmortals, it'd be nice if you had a really good match between two talented women or even a good tag match rather than... whatever the hell this was supposed to be. Oh well... at least they got paid.

"Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins in a perfectly acceptable wrestling match. Basically, Seth didn't want to get spun, but then he got spun and beat. It was a fun match that had a fun finish."

"AJ Styles and the big guy - Omos - defeated the New Day to win the tag belts. This was a thing that happened until this Omos guy gets tagged in, where he no sells everything, beats up the New Day, and pins one of them with his foot." That's all you needed to do to make a statement with any big guy in wrestling; give them a dominant win over an established act and hope he catches on. He's still around in some form or fashion, but more as an attraction of sorts, which is probably the best use for the guy.

"They showed a trailer for the upcoming WWE 2K video game, which looks like every other WWE 2K video game that they put out since the dawn of time. Nothing learned, I suppose." To be fair, though, I did eventually play 2K22... and it's alright, but it's nothing I haven't played before.

"Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon in a steel cage match in a victory for the dummies in the world. Yes, one of the announcers - probably Cole, I don't remember, they all sound the same - actually claimed that this Braun win was for all the stupid people in the world who were mocked and called stupid. Oh, so you're speaking of the people who booked or liked this crap?"

But how was the match, Civvie?

It was... okay. It was a thing that happened. Shane got fake-killed as opposed to legit killed, which is nice.

"Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated Miz and John Morrison in what was apparently a surprisingly good match according to some people. The match was perfectly fine. Bad Bunny put on a good showing here, never looking like total shit or treating this like a joke. People were impressed by that one Canadian Destroyer he pulled off, but that's Morrison doing most of the work anyway, so... but, still, as far as celebrity outings go, Bad Bunny's got 'em beat."

Bianca Belair defeated Women's Champion Sasha Banks to win the title via kick-out according to Michael Cole... this man has been with WWE for 20+ years. It might be time to put him out to pasture...

So yes, this was the main event of Wrestlemania's first night - the first time that Wrestlemania was headlined by two women of color, which is a nice little factoid of sorts. Listen, as a match, it wasn't anything special, but it served one purpose and that was to make Belair into a major player in WWE, which I think they've managed just fine. Sasha also deserves some credit for making Bianca look here, but it was a fine effort from both ladies that accomplished its stated goal and that's the least you could ask for out of a Mania main event.

So I thought Night One was alright. Obviously the two highlights of the show were the last two matches. Bad Bunny would continue to be a presence in WWE every so often going forward and he got a good start here. Bianca's stock, I felt, was raised considerably and she became that major face during a time when they needed it... at least, until Becky Lynch came along and ruined the whole thing, but that's another story.

April 11th, 2021

Titus and Hogan are dressed as pirates to open the show... cool.

"Randy Orton (the heel of the story who gets cheered) defeated Bray Wyatt (the babyface of this story who gets jeered because his gimmick sucks) in a PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING MATCH... well, kind of." For context, this match is taking place after The Fiend was burnt to a crisp at a prior PPV and this is the "revenge" match of sorts. Of course, since this is a Fiend match, they turn on the red light, which makes everything look like shit. The crowd, surprisingly, were booing the whole Fiend thing, which I suppose makes sense since he's supposed to be the heel... but usually, people liked this Fiend stuff and this time, they didn't. Towards the end of the match, Alexa Bliss pops out a nearby box-like structure where she is somehow drenched in an oil-like substance, which distracts Fiend long enough for Randy to hit his signature RKO-type maneuver for the win. This was trash and I stand by that.

Women's Tag-Team Champions Shayna Bazler/Nia Jax defeated Nattie/Tamina in a fucking horrible match to retain the titles. Nuff said.

"Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn for the billionth time, but this time on the grandest stage of them all. This was every Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn and ever Kevin Steen vs. El Generico match you've ever seen in the past two decades and that's perfectly fine because these two know each other so well, are more than capable of pulling off great matches together, and this was no exception. As an added bonus, we get Kevin Owens giving a stunner to Logan Paul, who is a Youtube personality or something. Is he related to that Jake Paul fellow?"

Sheamus defeated United States champion Matt Riddle to win the title in a pretty fun hard-hitting match. Not much to say about this one.

"Apollo Crews defeated Intercontinental champion BIG E to win the title in a Nigerian Drum Fight - basically a no holds barred match where a bunch of drums lay around the ring unused because we'd rather hit each other with Singapore Canes because they're way the fuck lighter. Seriously, it's just a normal hardcore match with no drums used that ends when Big E is assaulted by the big guy formerly known as Yabba Dabba Kahto from that RAW Underground thing or whatever his name was, allowing Apollo to get the win. Complete and utter waste of time and a waste of two talented fellows." Big E would eventually capture the WWE Title for a short spell later down the road... and then he'd suffer a horrific neck injury that has kept him out of action to this day. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

Rhea Ripley defeated RAW Women's Champion Asuka to win the title in what I would call a perfectly acceptable wrestling match. I didn't think the end result was going to be much of a surprise and while this would've been better with Charlotte instead of Asuka so that Rhea could get her win back, it got to where we needed to go and that's all I wanted out of this.

I skip over the Bayley bits where she was being annoying backstage and ended up getting beat up by THE BELLA TWINS of all people... because that's the payoff I really needed for these bits. Thankfully, this is a replay and I can fast forward.

And in the main event of Night #2, Blue Belt champion Roman Reigns pinned both Edge and Daniel Bryan Danielson on top of each other after a fairly decent match to retain the title in the triple threat match that featured some great action and a bit too much outside interference... maybe it's being broken down by so many of these Roman matches going by the same tired formula, but I wasn't particularly invested in this match as much as I expected. Seeing Bryan Danielson in a Mania main event at this point seemed a bit odd, considering he'd be in AEW by the end of the year... hell, even Edge would eventually be All Elite a couple years later, so maybe that's the better story to tell. Roman was so dominant that he sent his two potentially biggest rivals to the other dog-and-pony show where all the big boys are playing with each other... oh wait.

So, yeah, I could say that Night One was the slightly more enjoyable showing than Night Two, but honestly, as a whole, Wrestlemania 37 was largely a show that was just there. It didn't feel like a show of any major significance despite the crowning of new champions and the showcase of a celebrity embracing this wrestling thing, but it also wasn't a total dumpster fire. In fact, I could easily say that this is a show that is probably going to be forgotten about in a couple days... and that ended up being the case, which is why a lot of this entry is copied and pasted from the old post. I really had very little to say about this one beyond the contextual additions.

Oh, well... one last thing... we need more Joe In Poncho.

Hell, maybe that can overcome AEW's woes.

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