WWE WrestleMania 37: A night in Black Excellence

WWE, Sasha Banks (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
WWE, Sasha Banks (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images) /

While WrestleMania season was not built in the most exciting of ways, night one of WrestleMania delivered in ways that everyone did not expect. Off the back of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, WWE was putting forth a strong showcase of events. Night one of WrestleMania was an exceptionally special event, because looking back, it was a moment of Black Excellence in professional wrestling.

Many think pieces have been written about the struggles that marginalized groups have within the professional wrestling industry. Even Hulk Hogan’s involvement as the special guest host with Titus O’Neil is a glaring example of how bigotry and hatred seem to remain around wrestling way too long. The wrestling industry does not have the greatest track record of showing itself to be an inclusive field, but night one of WrestleMania 37 is a positive moment on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Look at the card for this night and something stands out. Five of the seven matches featured people of color. The three title matches all featured Black performers, and Black champions walking out with titles around their waists. This is a moment that deserves recognition and proves that people of color can carry an organization as large as the WWE when they are given the opportunity to do so.

Bobby Lashley, Bianca Belair, and Olmos left the biggest event of the year with belts around their waist. Kofi and Xavier Woods walked in with titles but were unsuccessful in their bid to defeat Olmos and AJ Styles. There was even a special moment when the New Day was joined by Big E, with the Intercontinental title as well, yet another Black performer appears on camera as a champion. Naomi was also in the women’s tag team turmoil match, but she was unsuccessful along with Lana to get a tag title match on night two.

These moments deserve to be pointed out because they should be the norm. A major organization like the WWE is still celebrating “firsts” in the year 2021. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair were promoted as the first two Black women to headline WrestleMania, but they were the first Black performers PERIOD to do so. That is an amazing moment and fact that should be celebrated every time Banks and Belair are mentioned in the future.

The demographic of wrestling fans have always been a diverse group. Even though the featured performers on television have not always reflected that fact, there has always been a talented group of performers on every roster in the industry. Night one of WrestleMania was an evening of Black Excellence that showed that Black men and women can thrive as the focal point of big feuds and matches.