WrestleMania 37 kicked off live in Florida's Raymond James Stadium, with Vince McMahon welcoming a live audience of 25,000 screaming fans. The pop of the crowd and Bebe Rexha's National Anthem had enough nostalgia with life pre-pandemic events that many wrestlers were shown with tears in their eyes, and the excitement was palpable.
Co-Hosts Titus O'Neil and Hulk Hogan entered the stadium to thunderous applause, bringing WrestleMania 37 to an open after a rain delay caused the matches to start nearly 40 minutes late. Drew McIntyre sauntered into the arena prior to Bobby Lashley's entrance, ready to take the WWE Championship back after the upset at Elimination Chamber. After a brutal beating at the Chamber event, Miz had cashed in his Money in the Bank contract against McIntyre and then subsequently lost the belt to Lashley. With his eyes set on the prize, McIntyre stared down his opponent in the rain-drenched ring, much to the elation of the live audience.
The fight began with each man testing the other, locked in adorably violent hugging and taunting until Lashley made the first big moves of the night, pinning McIntyre into the corner in a flurry of slaps. Even after the men moved outside the square circle, most of the moves were more calculated and timed to see what the other what bringing in terms of heat to fight. McIntyre did bring more flash into the event, especially with his arm bar submission attempts against Lashley.
To Lashley's credit, he meticulously chipped away at McIntyre with more coordinated strikes rather than risk the bigger moves often seen from the former WWE Champion. It was these bigs moves from McIntyre which slowly turned the momentum of the match into his credit, who back-to-back clotheslined Lashley and followed up with a neck-breaker. Lashley continued to push McIntyre in the corner, but his strategy after this third attempt was stopped short by a well-timed elbow from the Scottish warrior.
The first pin of WrestleMania 37 was attempted by Lashley, but McIntyre was kicked out at the two count. Lashley continued the assault against the former champion, lifting him high above his head again and again before slamming McIntyre down into the center of the mat. To Lashley's credit, the ability to lift McIntyre overhead without breaking a sweat is a testament to the leader of the Hurt Business's caliber as an athlete.
Every run that McIntyre attempted on Lashley was stopped by Lashley's continuous shows of strength by each man refused to be outdone. McIntyre was successful with the belly-to-belly slams, attempting a pin against Lashley each time he got the current reigning champ down. Right before landing a claymore kick against Lashley, MVP assisted his wrestler out of the ring before McIntyre's finishing kick could finish him off. Refusing to let his run end, McIntyre flew over the rings and took out both MVP and Lashley outside the ring.
Lashley gained just enough time to respond in kind to McIntyre and joined him in the center of the ring to deliver a flurry of slams before catching his opponent in a brutal headlock. McIntyre seemed spent at this point, but the closest end to the match came after catching Lashley in an unforgiving arm bar, but he managed to force the break after grabbing the rope. Again, the two men went toe to toe in slaps, with Lashley almost receiving the brutal end of a Claymore kick, but MVP distracted McIntyre long enough for the current reigning champion to put his opponent in yet another headlock.
McIntyre was able to rally enough to kick off the turnbuckle, but Lashley's grip was severe and remained unbroken. Despite a successful and impressive showing from McIntyre, he did not have enough strength left to break Lashley's formidable grip, and the bell was rung after he was no longer capable of continuing the match. In the first match of WrestleMania 37, Bobbly Lashley retained his title and left Drew McIntyre in a heap outside the ring.