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KELLER’S WWE WRESTLEMANIA 37 REPORT
APRIL 10, 2021
TAMPA, FLA. AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK NETWORK
-Vince McMahon stood on the stage with the roster of wrestlers and introduced the show. The crowd was densely packed. McMahon said for the last year, something was missing – the fans. The wrestlers applauded. McMahon welcomed fans to (grinding voice) “WrestleMania!”
-They went to Bebe Rexha to sing “America the Beautiful” from mid-ring.
-A video package aired focused on the return of fans to WrestleMania with the “Back in Business” catch phrase and a collage of big WrestleMania moments over the years.
-They went to Michael Cole, Samoa Joe, and Byron Saxton that he regretted to inform everyone that there is a weather delay due to lightning in the area. They showed fans covering up with plastic tarps. Cole asked Joe what it’s like to be a performer who is ready to go, but then has to endure a delay. Fans began evacuating the ringside area behind Cole to the point that floor seats behind them were virtually empty. Cole guaranteed they’d have live action in a few minutes, but they’d go backstage to interviews with the wrestlers.
-Backstage, Sarah Schreiber interviewed Shane McMahon. She prodded him about bullying Braun. Shane said he merely called him stupid and dumb, but his mind has many plans. She asked if he should pick on someone his own size. He said it’d be a little wiser on his part, but he’s having so much fun, since the opportunity is there, he wants to take it.
Bobby Lashley and MVP barged in. Shane left. As MVP and Lashley talked some trash about Drew, Drew walked in. Drew said ring or no ring, nothing will stop him and he’s ready to throw down now. Jamie Noble and a referee walked in and yelled at them to separate. Schreiber asked where his head is at. He said he finally saw fans and was trying to keep his composure, he heard that. He said the damn weather is trying to take this moment from him, and he’s trying to keep himself together. He said he wants the match right here, right now, in the back. He said this match will happen tonight, one way or another.
-They went to Kayla Braxton, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg at the panel desk. JBL talked about all the big sporting events he’s been to, and he’s wrestled worldwide, and he’s never felt the energy that he just felt minutes ago after being locked down for a year. Rosenberg said he might want to change his pick from Lashley to McIntyre after seeing Drew there.
-Kevin Patrick interviewed New Day backstage. They talked about how long it’s been since they had this feeling of performing in front of fans. Big E joined in.
-Cole called it “Wrestle-Rainia.” Joe said he wouldn’t sign off on that. Cole said it’s appropriate that with all they’ve been through this past year that there’d be the first weather delay in WrestleMania history.
-Schreiber interviewed Braun Strowman who said he’d literally beat Shane McMahon within an inch of his life.
-Patrick interviewed Kevin Owens who said industry experts said he and Sami Zayn would never make it to WrestleMania, and now they get to prove them wrong. He said the Sami people will see this weekend isn’t the Sami he knew earlier in their careers. He said no matter the obstacles they had to run through, it’s still him and Sami.
-They went to Cole and Joe who were covered in a plastic tarp. Cole said they were just informed the first match would begin in five minutes. He said Saxton’s mic went out and joked that it might be for the better.
-Schreiber interviewed Bianca Belair. She said she’s nervous, but that shows she cares. She said she always says, “Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”
-Patrick interviewed Seth Rollins who turned up his obnoxiousness to 11. He said he loves the chaos of the delay.
-Schreiber interviewed Miz and Morrison backstage.
(Keller’s Analysis: It was actually fun seeing wrestlers all hyped with adrenaline having to improvise in-character interviews old-school style without a script they’ve memorized. I’m curious if they have a hard-out at a particular time tonight with Peacock or PPV distributions, and if matches have to be shortened or a match moved to the Kickoff Show tomorrow night instead.)
-A video package aired on Bobby Lashley.
-Cole, Joe, and Saxton stood in front of the announce desk. Cole said fans were filing back to their seats after the severe weather threat passed. They talked about the tension built up in the competitors.
-Greg Hamilton introduced Titus O’Neil as the host of WrestleMania. He skipped onto the stage and played to the crowd. (Who had Titus’s music as the first entrance theme they’d play after a one year break from fans?) Then Hamilton introduced Hulk Hogan, who walked out to his theme. Hogan said, “It’s awesome, man!” as he pumped his fists. Titus welcomed the crowd to Raymond James Stadium. They cut to fans who were covered in plastic tarps. Titus energetically asked for the crowd to cheer. Hogan said they’re going to make history tonight and tomorrow night, starting off with the first match in front of “a WWE Universe audience.” Hogan talked up Lashley and Drew. They closed with Hogan’s “Hulkamania run wild on you” catchphrase.
-They cut to a wide shot of the stadium where an augmented generic pirate skeleton with a sword hovered over the arena. It looked like a grim reaper had showed up to kill everyone.
-They went to Cole, Saxton, and Joe who again talked up the feeling of being back in front of a live audience.
(1) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. DREW MCINTYRE – WWE World Hvt. Title match
Drew McIntyre made his ring entrance. (It’s appropriate he’d be the first wrestler to get a ring entrance, as he is the one wrestler, more than anyone, who I think people will think of as having carried the burden of the challenges of wrestling during a climactic year of his career in fan-free venues.) Drew was amped up and let out a smile as he seemed to be relieved to finally be in front of fans. They utilized augmented reality graphics as part of Drew’s entrance to add to the atmosphere.
Lashley and MVP walked out next. Drew paced aggressively during ring entrances and didn’t take his intense stare off of Lashley during ring introductions. It’s been a while since looking at fan signs was a thing. Cole talked about the importance of the WWE Title over the decades. The bell rang 45 minutes into the first hour of the broadcast.
They locked up. Drew overhead tossed Lashley and gave him an “up yours” arm gesture. They exchanged punches mid-ring. Drew clotheslined Drew over the top rope to the floor. Drew went after him. Lashley took control and threw Drew into the barricade. Back in the ring a minute later, Drew took over and went for a cross armbreaker. Lashley powered out of it and pounded on Drew on the mat.
Lashley went on sustained offense with a series of power moves and some near falls. Drew avoided a Hurt Lock attempt and made a comeback with some hard elbows in the corner. He then flapjacked Lashley and scored a two count. Drew set up a top rope superplex, but Lashley knocked him off balance. They both sat on the top rope and exchanged punches. Drew applied a kimura up there. Then he leaned back and overhead tossed Lashley to the mat. Drew looked to the crowd, then charged, but Lashley gave him a one-armed slam. Lashley pounded his chest. Drew kipped up. Lashley looked shocked. Drew said, “Bring it, bitch.” Lashley punched away at Drew, but Drew came right back with a belly-to-belly and a Future Shock DDT. He delivered a second DDT. Then a third. He made the cover and scored a near fall at 13;00. The ref seemed to be counting two counts faster than usual. A “This is awesome!” chant rang out.
Lashley rolled to ringside. Drew leaped over the top rope and flip dove onto both Lashely and MVP. He climbed to the top rope and leaped at Lashley, but Lashley caught him and gave him an overhead suplex and then face buster. He went for a Hurt Lock, but Drew charged into the corner and ducked, sending Lashley into the turnbuckles. Lashley charged at Drew, but Drew applied a sudden kimura lock. Lashley teased tapping but reached the bottom rope after a dramatic 20 seconds.
Lashley charged at Drew, but Drew lifted his boot. He headbutted Lashley, then set up a Claymore. MVP yelled at Drew to distract him briefly. Lashley then avoided the Claymore and applied a Hurt Lock. Drew flailed and struggled. He faded. He dropped to one knee. Drew stood after a few seconds. The crowd cheered. Drew kicked off the turnbuckle, but Lashley held on. Drew began to fade again. The ref called for the bell.
Cole commented on a replay of MVP’s distraction leading to the sequence that doomed McIntyre.
WINNER: Lashley in 19:00 to retain the WWE Title. (****)
(Keller’s Analysis: I have to think that finish was part of building Lashley for a match with Brock Lesnar more than it was any kind of no-confidence vote in McIntyre. Really good match. Smart not to have that match last, though, if they were going to do a tired, cliched “distraction finish.” The crowd was behind McIntyre and there wasn’t a sense, at least on the broadcast, that Lashley had a significant cheering section. Social media posts indicate, though, that in the area, the crowd was cheering both wrestlers.)
-Backstage Titus was chatting with Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman. Bayley jumped into the scene and did the Wolfpac symbol with them. Titus said he’s hungry and he left without doing it. Then the rest of them dispersed.
-They showed scenes of the stadium as Cole talked about having goosebumps. The Midnight’s “Save Your Tears” played in the background.
(Keller’s Analysis: From a crowd standpoint, they have fake fans in the lower deck opposite the hard camera with scattered actual people sitting between the fake ones. Then the upper deck has scattered and well-spaced fans, but the sparse density seems to indicate many more of those seats could have been sold. The floor seats are all real people and those seats are full, by all appearances, and there’s no social spacing, and many fans have their masks down. Overall, it looks good enough, although it’s pretty obvious for big spots when fans react in the floor seats there’s a complete lack of movement in the lower deck. WWE is mostly avoiding showing that part of the arena except for high wide atmosphere shots.)
(2) WOMEN’S GAUNTLET TAG MATCH – Winner Gets a Women’s Tag Team Title match on Night 2
Naomi & Lana came out first. Then Billie Kaye & Carmella came out second. Cole called them a make-shift last second tag team. Cole and Corey Graves called this. The bell rang 11 minutes into the second hour of the event. Naomi threw a barrage of kicks at Carmella to start. They showed Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax watching in the back. Kaye rolled up Naomi, and Carmella pushed on her back with her legs to help add leverage for the three count.
ELIMINATED: Naomi & Lana.
Riott Squad came out next. A couple minutes in, Ruby landed a top rope senton to Billie Kaye as Kaye was on top of Liv. That was good for the pin.
ELIMINATED: Carmella & Kaye.
Out next were Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. Rose slipped and fell on he way to the ring. She got right back up. (Titus was the happiest person in the building.) Cole said it’s been raining and it’s slippery. Graves said he’s wearing sunglasses at night, and that might have played a part. As Ruby and Rose fought at ringside, Dana overshot a top rope flip senton on Liv, then went for a cover. Liv reversed her into a small package for the three count. Hamilton mistakenly announced Riot Squad had been eliminated, but corrected himself seconds later.
ELIMINATED: Rose & Brooke.
Tamina & Natalya came out next. Ruby rallied a few minutes in against Tamina, then landed a senton off the top rope onto the back of Tamina. Liv made the cover, but Tamina kicked out. Liv cried out in agony, perhaps a bit melodramatically. Natalya hit a Hart Attack clothesline on Ruby. She was about to set up a sharpshooter, but instead tagged to Tamina. Tamina then landed a top rope Superfly Splash for the win. (Say what you will about Superfly Snuka’s real-life legacy that has wiped him from references on TV by WWE going forward, but it was a cool moment to let Tamina finish a match at WrestleMania with her dad’s signature move.)
ELIMINATED: Riott Squad.
WINNERS: Natalya & Tamina in 14:00 to advance to face Baszler & Jax tomorrow night. (*)
(Keller’s Analysis: This was what you’d expect. Rapid-fire non-stop action with some overly ambitious and sloppy spots mixed in. No surprise Natalya & Tamina won given how they’ve been protected and featured in recent weeks.)
-A sponsored video package aired on the 24/7 Title starring Bugenhagen, Tozawa, and Gulak.
(3) SETH ROLLINS vs. CESARO
Seth made his ring entrance first. Then they re-aired the political ad spoof that aired on Smackdown the prior night that Seth produced to try to demean Cesaro. Cesaro exploded at Seth at the start with a running uppercut. After more offense by Cesaro, Seth rolled to ringside. Seth yanked Cesaro’s arm over the top rope, then climbed to the top rope. C0le said Cesaro can’t do the Cesaro Swing if his arm is weakened. Cesaro dropkicked him off balance. Cesaro shook out his arm. Seth countered Cesaro into a bucklebomb and scored a two count. Seth pounded on Cesaro’s arm. Cesaro fought back and landed a European uppercut. Seth avoided a second one. Seth caught up with Cesaro on the top rope and landed a superplex into a Falcon Arrow for a two count.
Cesaro threw a barrage of uppercuts at Seth a minute later. He then put Cesaro in the Cesaro Swing and did nine revolutions before stopping and shaking out his arm. He applied a sharpshooter. Seth grabbed the bottom to force a quick break.Cesaro went for a running European uppercut in the corner, but Seth moved. Seth then landed a springboard flying knee and a clothesline. Next, Seth landed a 360 degree tornado splash off the top rope for a near fall. Cesaro countered Seth and landed a quick Neutralizer for a near fall. After the kickout, Cole said Cesaro was beginning to doubt himself.
A couple minutes later, after more back and forth actions and more two counts, Seth yelled that he survived the Neutralizer and the Swing, so “I am a god!” Cesaro came back with an uppercut to counter a Stompt attempt, which was cool, and then an airplane spin of Seth without using his arms. Cole said he calls it the UFO because he does it without arms. Then he did another Cesaro Swing that went around 23 times, according to Cole’s count. He said that broke his own record. He then a hit a Neutralizer for the win. Graves said the fans are standing, but so is the locker room, as he has earned respect for years and years of hard work. He said this could be the first of many big wins yet to come.
WINNER: Cesaro in 12:00. (***1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a big win for Cesaro. His first WrestleMania singles match ends with a clean win over a former WrestleMania main eventer. The crowd ate this up start to finish and treated Cesaro like a star. It gave off a real sense, based on the overall presentation of the match, the finish, and the commentary that Cesaro is headed for a sustained big singles push this year.)
-Cole and Graves commented on Jey Uso winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal last night. They also showed Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode retaining the Smackdown Tag Team Titles last night.
(Keller’s Analysis: No sign of Tom Phillips and no mention of him. Cole is doing play-by-play for all matches, with the color commentators rotating based on the brand-affiliation of each match.)
-Braxton interviewed Ziggler & Roode backstage. Ziggler said rainbows and unicorns can only get you so far. They talked about A.J. Styles & Omos being favored against New Day. Roode said he’s known Styles a long time, and he learned you never bet against The Phenomenal One. Ziggler asked to be excused because he said the 2021 Hall of Fame class requested pictures with them.
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(4) THE NEW DAY (w/Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston w/Big E) vs. A.J. STYLES & OMOS – Raw Tag Team Title match
Styles started the match, and Kofi and Xavier battled him for several minutes. Kofi blocked Styles from making a tag a few minutes in. He left the ring and ran around to his side of the ring and tried to tag in Omos. Xavier blocked him, knocked him back to the floor, and kicked him. Saxton wondered if it’s possible Omos will never get to tag in. Xavier scored a two count on Styles. Xavier climbed to the top rope, and Styles sat up and smiled and leaped over to tag in Omos. Xavier screeched in panic when he realized his miscalculation.
Xavier and Omos squared off. Xavier dropkicked Omos. Omos no-sold it and made a face. Kofi tagged in, but Omos blocked him and just flipped him over with ease with just a swing of his arm. Omos stood over him, and they used low camera angles to accentuate his size. He tossed New Day into opposite corners and then threw running elbows at both of then. He then gave Xavier a backbreaker. He applied a claw to Xavier as he was bent backwards over his knee. He picked up Kofi with one arm and gave him a one-armed slam. Styles snuck in a flying Phenomenal Forearm on Kofi without legally tagging in. Omos lifted Kofi, had a few words for him, and then gave him a high double-arm slam. Omos put one foot on Kofi’s chest and pinned him. Cole called it one of the most incredible first-time performances in WWE history.
WINNERS: Styles & Omos in 9:00 to capture the Raw Tag Team Titles. (*3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: They must have big, big plans for Omos because that made a gigantic statement that size beats all. I’m glad they snuck in a Phenomenal Forearm so it wasn’t just Omos no-selling and decimating New Day single-handedly, but still. It’s difficult to star-rate a match like that which was built around some early good action with Styles, but the entire focus was always on Omos. Omos has good presence, but he didn’t do much. Running from one corner to another the most athletic thing he did. He had appropriate facial expressions and timing for what he was asked to do, and Kofi and Xavier were certainly good sports in selling for him like that to make him look like the Next Big Big Thing.)
-They showed Sasha Banks warming up backstage and acting really weird as usual. “Save Your Tears” by The Weekend played. Saxton plugged it.
-A video package aired on the Shane-Braun Strowman saga.
-Jerry Lawler made his ring entrance and joined in on commentary.
(5) BRAUN STROWMAN vs. SHANE MCMAHON
Shane danced out first to his music. Lawler defended Shane and said people are underestimating him. He was mainly on commentary to make jokes at Braun’s expense, it seemed. As Braun was about to enter the cage, Elias and Jackson Ryker attacked him with a chair, focusing on his leg. Then they threw Braun into the ring. Elias handed Shane the chair before the cage door was locked shut.
Shane bashed Braun with the chair for a minute until Braun blocked it. Shane pushed through, though. He called for the door to open and tried to leave early. Braun stopped him. Shane climbed up the cage. Braun grabbed him and pulled him down. He yelled he was “about to get these hands!” Shane kicked Braun’s leg and then danced around the ring. Braun limped around as Shane continued to kick away at him.
They battled back and forth for a few minutes. Shane landed the Coast to Coast. Ryder and Elias climbed the side of the cage to try to help Shane over the top. Braun charged and knocked Elias and Ryker off the side of the cage. Shane fell back into the ring.
Shane and Braun climbed to the top of the cage. Shane grabbed a tool box that was up there and smashed Braun in the head with it. Braun fell to the ground. Lawler asked, “How ironic was it that Shane McMahon used a tool box to hit that tool Braun Strowman.” Shane climbed over the cage and began climbing down. He put his hand through a cage opening to taunt Braun. Braun grabbed Shane’s hand, then broke the wall of the cage, peeling it away. He pulled Shane back into the ring and pummeled his ribs.
Braun stood on top of the cage and grabbed Shane by his lapel. He threw Shane off the top. Shane flipped mid-air and landed hard on his back. Cole said Braun just yelled, “Who’s stupid now?” Cole said Shane could be broken in half and he hasn’t moved. Braun got back down and yelled at Shane that this is for every person who has ever been called stupid. He then gave Shane his running powerslam for the win.
WINNER: Strowman. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s pretty much what you’d want out of this match. An unfair advantage for Shane early to explain him getting in any offense. Shane using a tool box to his advantage. Shane getting cocky. Braun using brains and brawn to stop Shane on the verge of victory. And then a big Shane bump followed by a clean win for Braun.)
-A ton of pyro blasted.
-A video aired, narrated by Steve Austin, talking about WrestleMania coming to Dallas, Tex. next year.
-They went to Cole, Joe, and Saxton at ringside. He started talking about how great it was to have fans back when Bayley interrupted. She sat on Cole’s lap and threw to a video package on the 2021 Hall of Fame.
-The Hall of Fame class came onto the stage and were acknowledged by ring announcer Mike Rome.
(6) MIZ & JOHN MORRISON vs. BAD BUNNY & DAMIAN PRIEST
About 20 bunny mascots walked to the ring. Miz & Morrison live rapped their “Hey Hey, Hop Hop” hit single. Miz and Morrison danced with the bunnies. Quite the scene. Damian Priest came out next. Then Bad Bunny made his entrance by riding on top of a semi truck trailer to the arena. It sounded as if he got mostly loudly cheered by the audience.
Booker T joined the announcers on commentary. Cole noted Bad Bunny wrote a song named after him. Bunny tagged in early. There were Von Erich and Rock & Roll Express-like squeals from some fans in the crowd. He danced around the ring with his fists raised. Miz put his hands behind his back and mocked Bunny and dared him to take a shot at him. Bunny popped Miz with a right to the side of his face. They replayed the impact in slo-mo.
Miz went for a hold, but Bunny landed a spinning elbow. Booker T said that is the training kicking in. Bunny tackled Miz with a double-leg takedown. Miz took control with a kick. He pounded on Bunny with some forearms and raked his face across the top rope. Bunny came back with an armdrag. Miz rolled to ringside. Saxton said he looked embarrassed.
When Miz returned to the ring, Bunny scored a near fall with a crucifix. Bunny extended his arms and yelled out in celebration as Morrison gave Miz a pep talk. Miz offered a test of strength, but then kicked Bunny in the ribs. Bunny ducked a Miz clothesline and then took Miz down with a spinning head scissors. Miz staggered to his corner. Morrison tagged in. Bunny landed a running elbow to the side of Morrison’s head. On a second charge, Morrison lifted his elbow. Miz took a shot at Bunny from the ring apron. Miz tagged back in. He raked his fingers across Bunny’s face and locked him on the mat with a chinlock. Bunny surprised Miz with a sunset flip. Miz popped up and gave him a boot to the face. Then he DDT’d him. Miz dragged Bunny to his corner and kicked him to the floor. Morrison rammed Bunny’s head into the announce table, then threw him back into the ring.
Miz tagged in Morrison. Morrison stomped Bunny, then did a Spinarooni. Miz took a cheap shot at Priest. The ref stopped Priest from entering, then gloated in the corner. Bunny eventually made a comeback after more gloating by Miz. He delivered a DDT off the middle rope. Both Miz and Bunny were slow to get up. Bunny hot-tagged Priest in.
Priest went to work on Morrison and Miz. He landed a leaping spin wheel kick on Miz, then kicked away at Morrison. He played to the crowd and got cheered. He landed flying elbows in opposite corners (he watched Omos earlier!) He gave Miz a chokeslam. Morrison broke up the cover. Priest and Bunny then gave stereo suplexes to Miz and Morrison and scored two near falls at once. Only one was official, of course. Miz and Morrison rolled to the floor. Bunny whipped Priest into the ropes, and Priest dove onto Miz and Morrison. Priest encouraged Bunny to try it. Bunny climbed to the top rope and leaped onto both of them on the floor.
Priest entered and set up an inverted DDT, but Miz landed a Skull Crushing Finale. Bunny made the save. Morrison yanked Bunny off the ring apron. Bunny delivered a Canadian Destroyer. Miz was wide-eyed. The announcers gasped and gushed. Booker called it a Bunny Destroyer. Saxton said Bunny is performing at a higher level than he’s seen from someone from outside of WWE. Bunny leaped off the top rope and bodypressed Miz off of Priest’s shoulders and got the three count.
WINNERS: Bunny & Priest in 12:00. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: That was fun. Bunny struck just the right tone with a mix of confidence and wide-eyed amazement as a fan that he was in this situation. Miz and Morrison get a ton of credit for their role in all of that. Priest was barely in the match, but he got a significant rub from just being out there in a high-profile celebrity match compared to whatever else he might have been involved in otherwise at this stage of his main roster run. Bunny put in the work and it showed.)
-The announcers commented on clips of Lashley’s win over Drew earlier. Then they hyped Night 2 of WrestleMania.
-A video package aired on the Bianca Belair-Sasha Banks saga.
— Pro Wrestling Torch (@PWTorch) April 10, 2021
(7) SASHA BANKS vs. BIANCA BELAIR – WWE Smackdown Women’s Title match
Belair came out first. Then Sasha. Ring introductions took place 18 minutes into the fourth hour of the show. Belair gave off a positive vibe in her entrance. Sasha played a strong heel, giving off a vibe of being completely full of herself. Banks got a lot of cheers, though. Belair began tearing up and crying when the bell rang, clearly feeling the emotions and enormity of the moment.
They shoved each other at the start. Belair went for a standing moonsault, but Sasha avoided it. Belair landed on her feet and spanked herself to taunt Sasha. Sasha dove through the ropes at Belair at ringside, but Belair rolled through and picked up Sasha, then pressed her above her head, climbed the stairs, and threw Sasha into the ring. Sasha pulled on Belair’s hair and then threw a series of kicks to take over control of the match. She scored a two count after the flurry of kicks and a knee.
Banks climbed to the top rope. Belair slammed her hard to the mat off the top rope. Sasha rolled to teh floor and grabbed Belair’s hair again. Belair yanked Sasha into the ringpost. Sasha charged at Belair at ringside, but Belair moved. Sasha crashed into the ringside barricade. Belair then gave Sasha a delayed vertical suplex. That was crazy impressive. Belair did a kip up and a running standing shooting star press. She speared Sasha in the corner seconds later, but the ref scolded her for breaking just before the five count. Sasha made a comeback with a boot, but Belair ducked Sasha’s charge and face planted her. She followed with a 450 splash attempt, but Sasha lifted her knees. Both were down and slow to get up at 9:00.
Sasha took over briefly, but Belair caught her and powerbombed her. She lifted her and powered her down again and stacked her shoulders for a two count. Sasha powered up and smashed Belair’s face into the mat. Sasha leaped off the top rope with a frog splash for a two count. Graves said Sasha seems frustrated with her inability to solve her challenger tonight. Sasha turned it up a notch and threw Belair into the ringside steps. Graves said this is what Banks needed. Back in the ring, she went for a Bank Statement, but Belair fought it. She did lock it on, using Belair’s hair for extra leverage during the set-up. Graves said there is panic in the eyes of Belair. Belair rolled through and grabbed onto the bottom rope to force a break. Sasha wrapped Belair’s hair around the bottom rope and then kicked away at her. Sasha snarled toward the hard camera.
Banks went for a double-stomp off the top rope, but Belair avoided her. Belair then kicked Banks as she charged again. She leaped off the top rope and landed a 450 splash for a near fall. Belair reacted with dismay. Cole said she had to rein in her emotions. Graves said her dreams were just shattered before our very eyes. Belair yanked her hair out of Sasha’s hands and whipped her with it. It made a loud noise. Sasha avoided the KOD and then went for a Back Stabber. Belair countered with the KOD for the win. Cole said Sasha kicked out at first. There wasn’t even an inkling of a kickout. Fans erupted with celebration. They showed her father, mother, and brother almost leaping over the barricade in celebration.
WINNER: Belair in 17:00 to capture the Smackdown Women’s Title. (****)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good four-star match. I’m surprised they didn’t have more time, but I wonder if the storm delay caused this match, among others, to be shortened.)