WrestleMania: Rules wins, 3 titles change hands

Results from the first night of WrestleMania 37 you’ll find here.

Daniel Bryan and Edge apparently had career-related injuries and offered retirement speeches in the ring to commemorate her career. Roman rule went from WWE in 2018 with the second diagnosis of leukemia of his life, unsure of his future.

The fact that the main WrestleMania 37 event took place between these three men on Sunday is incredible. What Reigns, Edge and Bryan did on that occasion was even more.

Reigns left Raymond James Stadium in Tampa with the Universal Championship intact, but each of the three contestants in the game had a moment when the audience was sure to be convinced they were going to drop out as champions. The match lived up to expectations as Reigns, Bryan and Edge got it all in a nutshell and marked career highlights for every man in the process.

If there was a single question mark about this match, it was about the possible overloading of Reigns’ cousin Jey Usowho has been involved in every Reigns title fight over the past few months. His presence was felt from the start, with superkicks on both Bryan and Edge, but Edge neutralized Uso in a short time with a DDT on steel steps, which escorted Uso from the ring in pain.

All three participants in this match brought the intensity, but Edge injected a chaotic, frenetic energy of despair that drove him and kept him moving from start to finish in an increasingly violent clip.

Reigns, who had some dominant performances early in his title reign, has taken more damage each time and has raised a little more doubts about his continued title reign with each defense. He collapsed when he and Edge both speared and collided in the middle of the ring, and from then on he rarely got off defensive for most of the game.

Everyone was hot. Bryan landed flying nuts on Edge and Reigns, followed by rotating yes kicks. Reigns barely pushed himself out of the line of fire by bringing Edge directly into line with Bryan’s running knee.

Bryan had his best chance of winning when he gave Reigns a Yes Lock and immediately called back to Reigns’ undetected tap-out at Fastlane that’s what Bryan added to this match in the first place. Bryan turned Reigns back hard. Edge flew in and disbanded it to save the match for himself. Bryan then locked the Yes Lock in Edge and cranked it back. Then Reigns saved the matchup for himself.

Reigns struggled to his feet and bombed Bryan twice – once on Edge and then again from a standing position on a steel staircase through the comment table. In a moment of celebration, Reigns turned his head just long enough for Edge to run and spit Reigns from his boots, off the stairs and onto the floor.

In a moment that is repeated forever in WrestleMania Highlights, Edge placed Reigns in a crossface and stuck a piece of a broken chair through Reigns’ open mouth for extra leverage. Reigns was about to type, but Bryan caught his hand as he hit the mat. Bryan briefly joined in on a concurrent filing by Reigns, but then he and Edge traded nuts and Reigns was released.

Bryan started his “Yes!” Chants to pump up the crowd as he pitched Edge for a running knee, but Edge instead crumpled Bryan with a spear. Reigns took a Superman punch and missed, Edge speared Reigns, and just like it looked like Edge had won, Bryan pulled the umpire out of the ring as he lowered his arm for the three.

An apoplectic ledge brought three chairs into the ring. After beating his two opponents, Edge placed one under each of Bryan and Reigns’ heads. He smashed Bryan’s head between the two chairs to get a Con-Chair-To, but when he turned to Reigns, Uso stormed back into the picture. Uso was quickly neutralized with a spear and a few more chair shots, but Reigns used the distraction to spear Edge.

Reigns flipped the script with a Con-Chair-To-to-Edge, stacked Edge on Bryan, and pinned both men to end the show.

What’s next: It’s hard to get a more definitive victory than pinning both opponents down in a triple threat match. Reigns is well positioned for something fresh and new. Bryan and Edge can certainly get in touch, but until someone finds a way to neutralize Jey Uso, neither of them have a realistic chance of beating Reigns anytime soon.

Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley def. Asuka (c)

Both nights of WrestleMania 37 sent a clear message, at least when it comes to the single image of women on Raw and SmackDown: It’s a new era.

After Bianca Belair beat Sasha Banks on Night 1 to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship, Rhea Ripley also moved into the spotlight by beating Asuka and winning the Raw Women’s Championship on Sunday.

With two opponents who had never been in the ring before, few knew what to expect as the game played out, but expectations were high nonetheless.

Ripley enforced her economies of scale early on, absorbing many early insults from Asuka and shaking her off with his own kicks and punches. Ripley briefly slowed the action by locking body scissors on the floor and using that advantage to punch Asuka in the head to give those in the audience who were unfamiliar to Ripley a clear advantage.

There was plenty of counterattack throughout the game when Asuka seamlessly slipped body scissors into an ankle lock just so Ripley could transition into a German deadlift suplex.

Asuka’s and Ripley’s movesets played well together as they swapped German suplexes and dropkicks. Asuka hit a particularly impressive combination of backfist, backfist, and spinning wheel kick to rock Ripley, perfectly preparing her for a flying hip attack on a kneeling Ripley.

Asuka rarely stopped moving even when sent face first in the apron, adding the couple to the WrestleMania highlight role with a flying DDT from the apron to the floor. She seemed to take control of the match when she met Asuka with a quick series of Kawada kicks, but when she opted for the sliding knee, Ripley caught it.

Ripley lifted Asuka slightly off the ground and showed her strength with her elevated standing inverted shamrock submission, the prism trap. But Asuka rolled it through to a cross arm breaker. Ripley had more answers, including a vertical suplex from the outside in, but unwaveringly Asuka slipped into an Asuka lock in a short amount of time. Rhea turned on a pinfall attempt – which has become the Asuka Lock’s standard counter – and there was a rattle back to the feet.

And then it was over in a flash. Ripley snapped Asuka in the air and in no time dropped the champion with her signature riptide slam. With the 1-2-3 on the umpire count, Ripley beat Asuka to become the new Raw Women’s Champion.

What’s next: With NXT’s Ripley, Belair, and Raquel Gonzalez completely reshaping the power structure in WWE women’s departments over the past week, it’s a tough call for any of them. Asuka could get a second leg but a quick title flip-flop seems unlikely. What might be best for Ripley is to meet one of her former NXT compatriots right outside the gate to have some big, impressive, and familiar matches to get her legs under.

Intercontinental Championship: Apollo crews def. Big E. (c)

The unrestricted match between Big E and Apollo Crews was set up as the final stage to resolve an extremely personal rivalry.

Instead, with some outside intervention, the crews snapped the Intercontinental Championship away from Big E by nefarious means and probably prepared them for another clash.

Crews and Big E wasted little time after the bell rang as they slipped under the bottom rope, grabbed kendo sticks, and beat each other back and forth with reckless abandon. Big E speared crews through the ropes, dropping them both to the ground.

A Crews Death Valley driver to Big E on the apron equalized the score, and in the game’s fiercest attempt, when Big E was draped over steel stairs, Crews grabbed a second set of stairs to try to squeeze Big E in between them . Big E stepped out of the way just in time when the clang of metal on metal broke through the stadium.

Big E quickly used the same setup to his advantage with a uranage from the apron to the stairs that was still sitting on the floor.

Big E set up a table in the ring, but Crews grabbed a kendo stick and triggered another series of attacks. But when Crews climbed to the top rope and missed a frog splash and flew their way through the aforementioned table empty-handed, everything went into chaos.

As Big E was preparing to win after the Big Ending, a giant last known as Dabba-Kato (as part of Raw Underground) stormed into the ring, punched Big E in the side of the head, and then choked Big E effortless. He was hauling Crews back on Big E for the pinfall, and Crews had become Intercontinental Champion.

What’s next: Big E isn’t a character who just lets things go as we’ve seen over the past few weeks. A rematch will certainly be fine, but the crews’ newest asset will be tough to beat.

United States Championship: Sheamus def. mystery (c)

Sheamus set the tone for a big year in his rivalry with Drew McIntyre in early 2021 and took another step towards resurrecting his career on Sunday by defeating Riddle to win the U.S. Championship.

The match was a successful mix of intense physicality and acrobatics that allowed Sheamus and Riddle to show off. The match took on another level when Riddle bonded with a modified Spanish rope fly that landed like an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Alluding to the WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg, Riddle followed Sheamus with a jackhammer, though that wasn’t quite enough.

Whenever Riddle had an answer for Sheamus, Sheamus was quick with his own counter. A Bro Derek Slam went sideways and when Riddle tried to twist the top rope, he flew straight off Sheamus in a large knee. That was a little taste of what was to come.

The two men beat each other with the best that each of them had to offer. Sheamus with an Alabama slam. Riddle with an apron German suplex followed by an outward twist and a senton from the top rope.

Sheamus even went to the top rope himself and hit a flying knee against a grounded puzzle. His first attempt at a brogue kick failed when Riddle rolled through. But Sheamus blocked the next knee and made both men crawl. And when Riddle was floating for a springboard moonsault attempt, Sheamus caught a floating, upside down Riddle Flush with a brogue kick to win the U.S. Championship in one of the most memorable moments of the weekend so far.

What’s next: Sheamus was previously an American champion – this is his third reign and his second US title win at WrestleMania – but he’s able to step up that title in any number of different showcase matches against a deep Raw squad. Riddle will likely get his shot in a rematch, and if that match is the baseline the second time around will have high expectations. It could benefit from a slightly sharper focus and edge.

Kevin Owens def. Sami Zayn

After a shaky start to the night, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens lit a fire beneath the WWE Universe with a violent, energetic clash between two men who have been in the ring countless times for most of the past 20 years.

Owens eventually won the match and even made the prominent clash aside, Logan Paul, a positive factor by meeting him with an audience that liked the Stone Cold Stunner after the match.

The action moved at a breakneck pace from the opening bell when Owens connected to a pop-up power bomb for the first few seconds. Zayn struggled out of an apron powerbomb attempt when Owens tried to follow up, but when the action rolled back into the ring Owens bounced Zayn off the top rope and then hit a cannonball in the corner.

The match flowed back and forth and hit all the right marks as each man got a chance to shine with big moves. Zayn returned to the match with a flipping suplex to Owens on the apron – so effective it shocked the crowd for a moment.

Zayn followed that up with a Michonoku driver to Owens who scored two points, and Owens fought his way back with a big frog splash to score two points himself.

Owens’ Ushigaroshi neckbreaker was followed by an often-teased piledriver attempt never hit in the WWE package, which was countered by Zayn into an exploder duplex, which sent Owens into the corner.

A Helluva kick was countered by Owens, a stunner attempt was countered by Zayn and this led directly to a Blue Thunder Bomb, which earned Zayn another two count. A second exploder in the corner, a half and half suplex, and a brainbuster put Zayn even more frustratingly close to victory, but Owens kicked out again.

A twisted Fisherman’s suplex from the center rope to Zayn resulted in a scramble and a successful Helluva kick to Owens. But as Zayn was preparing for a second kick, he encountered a super kick from Owens and then a second. With a shake of the head and a stunner, Owens secured victory.

Paul, who up to this point had done nothing but make exaggerated faces for the camera, pushed Zayn to the ground after the game and embarrassed him. Owens raised Paul’s hand briefly, but when the crowd continued booing he changed his mind and hit Paul silly with the stunner.

What’s next: The door is wide open. Owens could try to break through on Zayn and his conspiratorial thoughts and the couple could band together. It would offer the tag team department something fresh and familiar to Zayn and Owens at the same time.

Randy Orton def. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

The second night of WrestleMania 37 opened in a significantly different form than Night 1, to say the least. Randy Orton neatly defeated “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a one-on-one wrestling match, though the special effects surrounding the match caught all the attention.

During his entry, The Fiend was “cured” from its burned state and returned to its original masked form, which emerged from a giant jack-in-the-box after Alexa Bliss turned the crank to let him out.

Instead of a cinematic, possibly combative presentation that would probably have suited such a match, Wyatt popped from the top of the Jack-In-The-Box onto a standing Orton in the ring, and the match began. Even more frustrating was that the bright red lights, which Wyatt had adapted unpopularly at the beginning of his time as “The Fiend,” were back throughout the game, hindering the viewing experience.

Orton slammed Wyatt on the comment table, but Wyatt immediately locked the Mandible Claw.

Orton encountered three executioner DDTs over the course of the game, but Wyatt showed up each time. Wyatt failed the mandible claw on his first attempt, but the second time the appeal was when Wyatt successfully placed an RKO in an advantageous position.

But when Wyatt lined up for Sister Abigail and shot fire from each of the ring posts, Bliss reappeared, cross-legged on the Jack-In-The-Box. She began to “bleed” black goosebumps from her forehead, as if she had “choked” Orton several times prior to this game. And when she was “bleeding,” she pointed to Wyatt and beckoned him over.

Orton took advantage of the distraction, hit an RKO, won and sprinted out of the ring.

Bliss continued to “bleed” from her forehead and otherwise stared unemotionally as Wyatt stood up. The lights went out and when they came back on they were both gone. Fans booed amid the uncertainty and puzzling choice for an opening match.

What’s next: Orton eventually escapes Wyatt’s orbit and does his own thing. Wyatt has the opportunity to return to first place with “The Fiend” and find out how Bliss fits into that picture.

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler def. Natalya and Tamina

In the first title fight of the WrestleMania 37 action on Sunday, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler successfully defended their women’s tag team championships against Natalya and Tamina.

After a night of fresh starts and big shifts, it was of course a shift to keep the status quo in this game. Natalya and Tamina, who won this opportunity in a fighting game on Night 1, had their moments and even managed to get significant support from the crowd. After a puzzling decision for the opening game, all four participants faced a climb to get the audience going again.

Tamina and Natalya had chances in the match and rose significantly after being out of WWE TV for a long time. Between her tag team moves defeating Jax and Tamina’s Scoop Slam and the Superfly Splash attempt against Jax, she got arguably the biggest reactions of anyone in the match.

But in the end Baszler won the night for her team. A blind day at the right time allowed her to knock while Natalya locked Jax in a sniper. Baszler crawled up from behind, locked in the Kirofuda clutch, and Natalya held out until she passed out, sealing the match for the champions.

What’s next: Baszler and Jax just don’t gel and most of their matches look choppy. Fresh blood and a major department overhaul are in order, but this may take a while to complete. It’s also hard to see Tamina and Natalya continue to team up, another big issue regarding the lack of depth in the tag team’s cover photo.

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