Bad Bunny’s love for wrestling was on display at WrestleMania 37

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: In this image released on October 14, Bad Bunny accepts the Top Latin Artist Award performs onstage at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast on October 14, 2020 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 14: In this image released on October 14, Bad Bunny accepts the Top Latin Artist Award performs onstage at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, broadcast on October 14, 2020 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) /

Bad Bunny’s in-ring performance at WrestleMania 37 exceeded every expectation set for him by the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. at WrestleMania XXIV and Lawrence Taylor at WrestleMania XI.

But Mayweather and Taylor are/were professional athletes, Bad Bunny is not.

On the first night of the two-night ‘Mania, the Grammy Award-winning artist established his own tier of successful celebrity involvements in WWE. Though he lacked the athletic prowess of a Ronda Rousey, who similarly excited fans and critics with her showing at WrestleMania 34, the match’s structure and the talent of its other participants compensated for Bunny’s athletic shortcomings.

That’s not to say he wasn’t in athletic shape, we’ve all seen the thirst traps. He reportedly began his training weeks before his appearance at the Royal Rumble. Luis Gomez of Billboard was told he only missed training to attend and perform at the Grammy Awards ceremony.

That’s a level of determination that did not go unnoticed.

Randy Orton appeared on WWE’s The Bump early in the afternoon before Night Two of WrestleMania 37. When prompted by the hosts to drop some parting words for his opponent later that night, The Fiend, he instead focused on Bad Bunny’s match the previous night.

“Although, off-topic, I feel it’s important for me to say that I appreciate Bad Bunny and the hard work that he put into delivering last night. And he did, he knocked everyone’s socks off back here. I was watching and I know he impressed a lot of his fellow WWE Superstars.”

“His fellow WWE Superstars.” The pandemic spawned the strangest timeline of events, and there have been few things stranger than reading the words “Bad Bunny, WWE Superstar.”

But it works, and the circumstances worked in his favor. The ongoing pandemic halted his plans of performing in his native Puerto Rico, and wouldn’t allow him to fathom a tour to coincide with any of the three albums he released since the start of the pandemic. But it opened the door for him to live out his wrestling dreams.

Alongside his tag partner, Damian Priest, the two Boricuas battled the decorated team of The Miz and John Morrison at WrestleMania and won.

Following the match, WWE Raw Correspondent Sarah Schreiber interviewed the losers and asked if they were “unprepared.”

To be fair to Miz & Morrison, no one was prepared for what Bad Bunny would do at ‘Mania.

After his spectacular entrance on top of his signature West Coast Customs big rig truck, the time came for Bad Bunny to put his learnings from Drew Gulak and Adam Pearce’s crash course to the test.

Former NWA Champion Adam Pearce, now WWE’s on-screen authority figure, and former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak were tasked with molding the singer-songwriter into a professional wrestler overnight, or, in the span of three months; compliments to them on the job they did.

If you were following the discourse on social media, the reception for his performance was unanimously positive, and rightfully so. I had initial skepticisms after he opened the match with some Shane McMahon-esque punches, but there was a subconscious sigh of relief after his arm drag on Miz moments later.

There was a bit of hesitancy or confusion on the Miz’s part on the execution of that maneuver, but besides that hiccup, Miz was great. Miz & Morrison’s performances can be equated to wrestling a broom, not because he was an immobile stiff, but because they needed to be especially convincing of non-wrestler Bad Bunny being an actual threat.

One moment during the match that sold me on the idea of “Bad Bunny, WWE Superstar” was his selling on a headbutt he himself delivered. I’m not the selling police by any means, but there are longtime wrestlers who forget or choose not to sell the self-inflicted damage of a headbutt. It’s a minor detail, but one that proves he was on a mission to earn the respect of his peers and fans alike.

Every maneuver was executed about as great someone with only three months of training could.

He also showed progress. Bunny came close to catastrophe when he nearly slipped off the top turnbuckle on his dive outside the ring onto Miz & Morrison at the Rumble in January, but this time around he looked immensely more comfortable up high and pulled the trigger on the dive quickly.

Petey Williams made his Canadian Destroyer finishing move famous about two decades ago. This frontflip-piledriver is one of the most stunning moves in all of wrestling and it requires very precise collaboration to make it look as good as Petey and his opponents did. Bad Bunny did that in his first match with the help of John Morrison. The subsequent close-up on Miz’s face (not shown in the clip below) made this an unforgettable moment.

Years of parkour and gymnastics training continue to pay off for Morrison.

There’s one reason in particular for why this all worked so well, and excuse me for sounding like a middle-aged white mom, but the “secret ingredient” to Bad Bunny’s wrestling success was love. Bad Bunny *loves* professional wrestling.

There’s a common theme in all the praise he has received in the lead-up and the post-match, and that’s respect. Bad Bunny loves and respects wrestling so much and was determined to not make a mockery of the opportunity granted to him at WrestleMania.

English professional wrestler Doug Williams put it best:

Bad Bunny, one of the biggest music stars in the world, without a doubt the biggest star to step into the world of WWE, wore his fandom proudly.

He proudly wove wrestling into his branding and aesthetic, proudly wore his WWE 24/7 Championship at Saturday Night Live to “pop the boys,” and proudly showed off the bumps and bruises on his body after his match in an Instagram story.

Next. WWE Raw results: Drew McIntyre wins shot at WWE title. dark

Wrestlers are a prideful group of athletes, and wrestling fans are a prideful group of fans. It’s apparent that they both ultimately accepted Bad Bunny, WWE Superstar.