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Who had the best ring entrance at Tampa’s WrestleMania? We rank them.

A “pop” is the fans’ reaction to a wrestler. The loudest typically come when theme music hits and a wrestler emerges.
WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt makes a leaping entrance into the ring during his match with Randy Orton at WrestleMania 37 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt makes a leaping entrance into the ring during his match with Randy Orton at WrestleMania 37 on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Apr. 12
Updated Apr. 12

TAMPA — In professional wrestling, performers and fans refer to the live crowd’s reaction as a “pop.”

A pop measures the popularity of a wrestler. How loud are the cheers and boos? Or are the fans apathetic?

A wrestler can pop the crowd with a specific move, promo or catchphrase But the loudest pop typically comes when theme music hits and a wrestler emerges.

As wrestling’s biggest event, performers go all out to receive a loud pop during WrestleMania entrances.

Related: 37 observations on attending WrestleMania 37 in Tampa

At past WrestleManias, The Rock used a flamethrower to light a cutout of his name, Shawn Michaels dropped into the ring via zip-line and The Undertaker was led down the aisle by an army of torch-bearing druids.

Who had the best ring entrances on Night 2 of WrestleMania 37?

Here is the Tampa Bay Times’ ranking of entrances that went above and beyond for WrestleMania to pop the crowd:

7. Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan

Hosts Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan have fully embraced Tampa's pirate past on Day 2 of WrestleMania 37.
Hosts Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan have fully embraced Tampa's pirate past on Day 2 of WrestleMania 37. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

The WrestleMania hosts sought what is called a “cheap pop,” which is receiving cheers by promoting something for which the host city is famous. Titus O’Neil and Hulk Hogan — both Tampa Bay area residents — walked to the ring and opened the event while dressed as pirates and speaking buccaneer. The crowd appreciated the pandering.

6. Riddle

Riddle flips toward Sheamus during their bout. Maybe he should have kept the scooter in the ring.
Riddle flips toward Sheamus during their bout. Maybe he should have kept the scooter in the ring. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

A former UFC fighter, Riddle’s wrestling persona doesn’t match that real life, tough guy bio. Instead, he portrays a carefree, barefoot fighting skater dude.

For his match with Sheamus, he zipped to the ring on a scooter. Once inside the ring, Riddle was welcomed with a short burst of fireworks.

Riddle lost the match, but because Sheamus just walked to the ring with theme music, won the battle of entrances.

Related: Tampa Bay wrestlers dominate WrestleMania men’s world heavyweight title matches

5. Rhea Ripley

Rhea Ripley is seen before her match for the Raw Women’s Championship.
Rhea Ripley is seen before her match for the Raw Women’s Championship. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Gothic fighter Rhea Ripley — nicknamed the Nightmare — had the triple threat while walking to the ring for her match against Asuka. Pyro shot into the air. The entrance stage spewed fire. And the band New Years Day belted out Ripley’s theme song, Brutality. For a few moments, WrestleMania was a rock concert.

In the sixth match of the night, Ripley broke a WrestleMania 37 trend. She was the first wrestler with a special entrance to win a match.

4. Sami Zayn

YouTube celebrity Logan Paul is introduced by WWE Superstar Sami Zayn.
YouTube celebrity Logan Paul is introduced by WWE Superstar Sami Zayn. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

An over-the-top loudmouth conspiracy theorist, Sami Zayn always dances to the ring to ska music.

He did just that at WrestleMania. But, for his match against Kevin Owens — the third of the night — Zayn also provided the event’s first celebrity appearance when he had YouTube star and fellow loudmouth Logan Paul in his corner. The crowd reacted with thunderous boos to Paul’s entrance.

After Owens defeated Zayn, the crowd implored him to perform a “stunner” on Paul. Owens did and the fans cheered.

Related: Tampa’s ‘Gimmick Attorney’ helps wrestlers trademark their characters

3. Big E

Rapper Wale performs as Big E walks to the ring.
Rapper Wale performs as Big E walks to the ring. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Tampa area resident Big E has been among the WWE’s most popular performers in recent years, eliciting laughs with gimmicks such as taunting opponents with in-ring hip gyrations and carrying boxes of his Booty O’s cereal.

For his WrestleMania entrance for his match against Nigerian royal Apollo Crews, Nigerian American rapper Wale performed Big E’s theme song as fireworks exploded above.

But Crews had the last laugh by winning with outside interference from wrestler Dabba-Kato.

2. Edge and Roman Reigns

Edge is seen before the triple threat match for the WWE Universal Championship.
Edge is seen before the triple threat match for the WWE Universal Championship. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

This ranks second because two of the participants in this triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Edge and Daniel Bryan had elaborate ring entrances.

Edge entered the stadium through a cloud of smoke, a laser light show and an extended pyrotechnics.

The last time live fans watched Tampa area resident Roman Reigns perform, he was a sympathetic good guy who had defeated cancer in real life. Since then, he has turned to the dark side. A question going into WrestleMania had been whether fans would go with the script and boo him, or rebel and cheer his edgier character.

The boos rained down as he emerged from the entryway to a laser show, then a 15-second fireworks display backed by spewing flames.

Reigns won the main event that was easily the match of the night.

Related: WrestleMania’s biggest stars have Tampa to thank for WWE rise

1. Bray Wyatt

The appropriate mood lighting (demonic) accompanies Bray Wyatt's entrance.
The appropriate mood lighting (demonic) accompanies Bray Wyatt's entrance. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

The first match of the night had the most memorable entrance.

In this reality-driven era of professional wrestling, Bray Wyatt is a throwback to the WWE’s cartoonish days. He is a demon who can appear in the ring from nowhere and then disappear in a cloud of smoke.

Wyatt’s entrance for his opening match against Randy Orton was in that vein.

The Tampa-area resident was first seen on the video screen, wearing his demon mask and walking a hallway lit red to insinuate he was coming from hell. He then emerged from a giant ringside jack in the box wound by his disciple, the Harley Quinn-like Alexa Bliss.

The crowd murmured excitedly in anticipation of his entrance, seemingly knowing it would be outlandish.

Wyatt did not disappoint.

And, after losing a short match, the lights flickered and he was gone.