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Monday Observations: Winners and losers from Wrestlemania 37 weekend

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Bobby Lashley opened Wrestlemania 37 with a successful WWE title defense against Drew McIntyre. Roman Reigns closed out the weekend with a dominating win in the triple-threat main event to retain the Smackdown world title.

A lot happened in between.

Who were the big winners, and losers, from WM 37 weekend?

Biggest winner: Peacock

I have to concede, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in Peacock, because of prior experience with the NBCUniversal app.

I’d all but given up on the app after trying most weekday mornings to use it to access “The Dan Patrick Show” radio show simulcast because it would cut out on me several times each broadcast – and my best guess is that “The Dan Patrick Show” isn’t drawing in millions each weekday morning.

Two nights, roughly eight hours of viewing, including the pre-shows and overruns, and I didn’t have a single blip.

It worked.

That billion-dollar investment in WWE Network has a chance of paying off.

Biggest head scratcher: Starting Night 2 with Orton-Fiend

I understand starting Night 1 with Bobby Lashley-Drew McIntyre, which should have main-evented Saturday, but you start the weekend with a hot match because you’re trying to get people to tune in, and you want them to like what they see and stay for the rest, right?

So, Night 2, you go with Randy Orton vs. The Fiend.

And you don’t just open with Orton-Fiend, you belabor the point by prefacing the match with a lengthy package of, ahem, highlights from their feud, which has stretched on since the beginning of time.

And then, with the headlines from the past couple of weeks about Peacock scrubbing controversial WWE Network content, you have the finish work around Alexa Bliss distracting Bray Wyatt with something oozing from her forehead.

I turned off the “Fastlane” pay-per-view and missed the triple-threat main event because I couldn’t sit through that show’s installment of Orton-Fiend.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we had friends over to watch the show with us last night, I’d have done the same last night.

Which … not what Peacock is paying that billion dollars for.

Biggest surprise: Lashley retaining

I’m pleasantly surprised, and also torn, because I think Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre are both big stars that WWE can build around.

I assumed that the build was all about McIntyre getting his Wrestlemania moment, after winning the WWE title last year at the pandemic WM36 in a TV studio.

Lashley seemed to be an interstitial champ, winning the belt just so that there’d be an excuse for the babyface to win in front of a live crowd and bask in the adulation.

To have McIntyre not only not win, but lose by submission, yeah, surprised.

Also happy for Lashley. It’s long overdue for him to be a top guy.

Best (and worst) of the celebs: Bad Bunny, Logan Paul, et al

Latin hip hop star Bad Bunny definitely looked like a guy who had trained for his Wrestlemania moment since the first of the year. He actually carried the match for his tag team, playing Ricky Morton to Damian Priest’s Robert Gibson, on the way to the expected victory.

Logan Paul and his 22.9 million YouTube subscribers – and the tens of millions who loathe him – got what they wanted when Kevin Owens hit the stunner on him after KO’s win over Sami Zayn.

WWE, as WWE is wont to do, announced William Shatner and Ozzy Osbourne for its Hall of Fame, and neither was on hand, which kind of renders moot the point of putting them in the Hall of Fame.

Could have at least have them cut a promo that you could have run live.

Biggest letdown: Edge

Remember how feel-good it was that Edge won the Royal Rumble to earn the WM main-event slot?

Not only did he eventually have to slide down the couch when Daniel Bryan was added to the match to make it a triple-threat, but then, that ending …

I get it that they want to make Roman Reigns look strong, but having him pin both guys felt more like the end to a Friday night show than a Wrestlemania.

Because now that you’ve had Reigns go strong over the top two contenders at the biggest show of the year, how can you have him be seriously challenged anytime over the next year and render the finale of your biggest show of the year just another minor plot point in a storyline?

Bryan did his job in helping make the match that much more watchable.

Edge, I feel, got a three-month build to nothing.

More over among the new women’s champs: Belair or Ripley?

Bold move, putting the women’s belts on two relative newbies, Bianca Belair (defeating Sasha Banks) and Rhea Ripley (beating Asuka).

Bold, but smart – with Becky Lynch still on the sidelines, WWE needs to build more depth at the top of the card in the women’s division.

Personal quibble, but I would have rather seen Ripley-Banks main-eventing Night 1. Maybe we get that one down the road, and when we do, they will tear the house down.

Who’s more over, though? It would have to be, right now, Belair, just because she was in the main event of Night 1, and because she had to defeat Banks to win her belt.

Quick hits: Best and worst of the rest

  • Liked the booking in the A.J. Styles/Omos vs. The New Day match putting Omos over in dominant fashion. The layout for the match had Styles take the beating, hot tag Omos, who didn’t have to do much but look strong. This one feels more and more like how WWE built up Kevin Nash by pairing him with Shawn Michaels every day.
  • Shane McMahon took another crazy WM bump. That’s all you could have expected from his match with Braun Strowman. That and a Coast to Coast. You weren’t disappointed.
  • Cesaro finally gets a Wrestlemania singles win. That, and 23 swings for Seth Rollins, who lost a clean fall in an otherwise forgettable undercard match. Somebody important must be mad that he put Becky Lynch out of action …
  • Why put us through the gauntlet women’s tag match on Saturday if the winner of the title shot is just going to lose on Sunday?
  • Sheamus going over on Riddle for the U.S. belt might tell us who Triple H’s favorite weightlifting buddy is these days.
  • Apollo Crews wins the I-C title with the help of some big dude who is six inches shorter than Omos, which we’ll never know as long as we don’t see those two guys in the same place at the same time.

Story by Chris Graham


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