There was a lot to like about the first night of WrestleMania 38. It was a very newsworthy show, from title changes to multiple returns to a major injury, as well as some entertaining in-ring work.
The second night is now upon us. What does WWE have in store for us? I’m looking forward to a lot that is scheduled to happen, so I don’t want to waste any more time. Let’s get to work.
Are you ready?
Because I’m ready.
Well, if you’re ready, and if I’m ready, then I think there’s only one thing left to do. I need you to say it with me, folks…
LESS DEW EET!!!
(0:01) Jessie James Decker is here to sing “America The Beautiful” tonight. Hopefully she does a better job than what we got last night. That’s not a high bar to leap over, though. Fun fact… her husband is former NFL Wide Receiver, Eric Decker, who played for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Tennessee Titans.
(0:04) She did a much better job than Brantley Gilbert did. Hooray!
(0:08) Triple H’s music hits, and he gets a huge ovation when he walks out onto the stage. I don’t give a damn if you love Triple H, hate Triple H, or find yourself somewhere in between… it’s great to see him on WWE programming this weekend after his serious health issues had people wondering if we’d ever see him again.
(0:10) When he got to ringside, he hugged and kissed his daughters, who are sitting in the front row. I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen them like that before. They’ve been on documentaries and things of that nature, but I only recall seeing the backs of their heads, etc. We got to see all three of their faces this time around.
(0:15) Hunter thanks everyone and officially welcomes us to WrestleMania. He leaves his wrestling boots in the middle of the ring as a symbolic gesture of his in-ring retirement, and he goes to hug and kiss his daughters again. His oldest daughter is crying. It was cool to see that, but also funny that he had that long entrance and stood there through a lengthy ovation from the crowd just to say two sentences.
(0:17) Our first match is the Raw Tag Team Title Triple Threat with RK-Bro defending against The Street Profits and Alpha Academy. Given the right amount of time, this one could be really good.
(0:22) Chad Gable starts the match by SHOOOOOSH-ing Montez Ford and Riddle. Ford responds by pimp slapping the taste out of Gable’s mouth, and Riddle kicks Gable in the teeth for good measure. Here we thought Gable was super smart.
(0:24) Man, remember when Heavy Machinery split up and everyone just assumed both Tucker and Otis would fade into Bolivian and get released? Remember when Chad Gable became Shorty G and everyone just assumed he would follow the same path to Bolivian and the unemployment line? How crazy is it to see both of them in infinitely bigger roles now?
(0:29) Randy Orton has the best hot tag in the business right now. Crowds eat that up with a spoon.
(0:29) Orton slams Montez Ford onto the announce table, and then slams Gable onto it. The table is still standing. Must be made in Japan.
(0:31) Montez Ford is not human. He jumps off the top rope to deliver a Blockbuster to Chad Gable, who was sitting atop Angelo Dawkins’ shoulders. He looked like he was 20 feet in the air.
(0:33) With Ford on the top again, Riddle springboards up and hits him with an RKO out of nowhere, and it’s followed by an RKO from Orton to a diving Gable. RK-Bro win and retain the titles. I was hoping that would get more time. That could’ve been 15-20 minutes with no problems at all. As it is, that was a lot of fun. 3.5 stars. That would’ve gone over 4 EASILY with some more time.
(0:35) After the match, Ford and Dawkins offer Solo cups to the champions, and then bring Gable Steveson into the ring. They give him a cup, but Gable steps in and knocks the cup out of his hand. It leads to a beautiful belly-to-belly suplex that sends Chad flying. Well, that’s one way to introduce him to the WWE Universe. As he was celebrating, he even said he was the “real Gable.” Shit, I’ll take a feud between those two.
(0:40) Next up, Bobby Lashley vs Omos. There’s some intriguing booking options here.
(0:45) ALL Omos in the first minute of the match. He’s beating Lashley like Bobby was enhancement talent.
(0:47) Omos is still dominating the match so far. It’s so weird to see Lashley treated like this.
(0:48) Omos just caught Lashley out of mid-air as if Lashley was a Cruiserweight. No matter who ends up winning this match, Omos has looked very impressive to this point.
(0:50) Lashley turned things around with one move… a suplex, which was super impressive to watch.
(0:51) A Spear to the back of Omos, followed by another traditional Spear to the gut of Omos, picks up the win for Lashley. That was such a smartly put-together match. Lashley wins and looks strong because he didn’t quit. Omos lost, but he still looks strong because he treated a former WWE Champion like he was a child for several minutes. That was well done. There wasn’t a ton to the match itself, so you can’t rate it really high, but I can go 2.75 stars. If you go a little higher, that’s fine.
(0:55) Our next match Johnny Knoxville vs Sami Zayn. Anything Goes. This is going to be a blast.
(0:59) Knoxville got a pretty good face pop. Even after all these years, people really like the guy.
(1:00) Two seconds into the match, Sami lands a Helluva Kick right into Knoxville’s face. That’s why the man is here.
(1:01) Fire Extinguisher spot!
(1:02) Sami bent a crutch over Knoxville’s back. Again, that’s why the man is here. He’s willing to take a beating.
(1:04) There is a table under the ring that has mousetraps all over it. Oh, no.
(1:06) An airhorn from Knoxville stops another Helluva Kick.
(Writer’s Note: Daddy Duties called me, and I had to miss chunks of that match. I’ll have to check it out later, but from what I saw, it was pretty entertaining. I know Twitter was raving about it. No rating for now, of course.)
(1:20) Women’s Tag Team Title match is up next. Queen Zelina and Carmella defend the titles against the teams of Sasha Banks and Naomi, Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan, as well as Natalya and Shayna Baszler.
(1:21) Sasha drives onto the stage in a Lamborghini, stuntin’ on these hoes in attendance.
(1:24) Social media is already all over this new friendship with Rhea and Liv, saying that there’s some serious “lesbian relationship” vibes. Now, Liv is dressed as Catwoman and carrying a whip to go with Rhea’s leather and spikes. Now they look like a lesbian BDSM relationship. Twitter is going to have a field day with this. Now that I look at it, Liv’s mask wasn’t really Catwoman. Dear Lord, they really are leaning into this. Fanfic writers have so much to work with.
(1:30) It always makes me laugh when Natalya runs the ropes. She runs very s-l-o-w-l-y.
(1:31) Liv screaming like a banshee while Shayna locks her in a leg submission. That’s a big complaint that a lot of people have with women’s wrestling. You’ll see a move performed in a match with men and someone will just sell it silently. The same move performed in a woman’s match is sold with screams as if they’re being tortured and having bamboo shoots shoved slowly underneath each fingernail.
(1:35) Maybe they’re tired after the last match, but the crowd seems pretty quiet for this one. There are some really over women involved here, and all eight of them are working hard, but the crowd isn’t treating it that way yet.
(1:38) Sasha overshot a Meteora from the ring apron to the floor, or Zelina is just too short, because she basically jumped knee-first onto the floor with nothing to stop her. Ouch.
(1:39) New champions! Sasha and Naomi with the pin and the win, giving Sasha her first ever win at WrestleMania. I think I might rank it a little higher on a second viewing because there was so much going on, but for now, I’m giving it 2.75 stars. Some clunky moments bring the score down a little bit, but overall, there was nothing bad here. As I said, this will probably top the 3-star mark when I get to sit back and watch it again.
(1:44) Next up is AJ Styles vs Edge in what could/should be one of the best matches of the weekend.
(1:48) Did AJ Goldberg himself backstage? His face is bleeding during his entrance. What the fuck happened??
(1:50) Edge’s entrance sees fire on the stage, like in the Brood days, but he comes rising up sitting on a badass throne now. He’s dressed like Ministry Of Darkness era Undertaker to boot.
(1:55) Dave Meltzer is reporting that AJ is bleeding due to an accident with pyro during his entrance, so take that for what it’s worth. An accident with pyro that appears to be an inch or so away from AJ’s right eye. Man, that could’ve been REALLY bad.
(1:58) Going with his new heel ways, Edge is wrestling a slower, more methodical style here. Not a complaint, mind you.
(2:02) AJ appeared to have a shoulder injury (may have been kayfabe), and popped his shoulder back into place. Mere seconds later, AJ runs full speed into the corner, and Edge steps to the side, sending AJ face-first into the buckle pad. He’s having himself quite the night.
(2:04) This crowd is nearly dead. Weird, considering who is in the ring.
(2:05) They read my mind. As soon as I typed that, a nice dueling chant of “AJ Styles” and “Let’s go, Edge” broke out.
(2:10) WrestlingINC posted a video of AJ’s entrance that showed him bumping his head on the set as he walked out of Gorilla. That’s what cut his face, not anything involving pyro. Fucking Meltzer.
(2:13) I really don’t understand this crowd. This has been a good match. It hasn’t been paced like Rey Mysterio vs Juventud Guerrera in 1996, but it was never supposed to. The crowd is just sitting there.
(2:14) AJ suplexes Edge from the top rope to the ring apron. Ouch.
(2:17) AJ goes to hit the Phenomenal Forearm, but he is distracted by Damian Priest at ringside. When he finally goes to hit the move, he is hit with a Spear in mid-air. Edge picks up the win. It would appear as though Edge has a new disciple, of sorts. Fuck, he really is Ministry Of Darkness Undertaker. Priest is his first Acolyte. The match was good. Not a Match Of The Year classic or anything, but good. It was definitely hurt by the lack of crowd response, but I’m going to give it 3.5 stars. With the way it ended, we’re definitely getting a rematch, which is fine with me.
(2:21) Next up, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods take on Sheamus and Ridge Holland. The match was bumped from last night’s show, so I would imagine everyone involved is working with chips on their shoulders tonight.
(2:23) Kofi and Woods are wearing Big E inspired gear. The style is the same as what E would wear, and Cole says that it’s the same color scheme as what E wore when he won the WWE Title. Damn, I miss that guy.
(2:27) Oh, for fuck’s sake. There was barely a match. We spent more time with Sheamus having to chase Butch around at ringside than we did having an actual match. Butch was basically acting like a rabid dog, always trying to get involved in the match, but he finally distracted Woods enough to eat a Brogue Kick behind the ref’s back, allowing Ridge Holland to get the pin. I’m not rating that. What in the world has WWE done to The New Day?? The match lasted less than two minutes, and like I said, most of it was spent with Butch trying to interfere.
(2:32) Looks like The Undertaker is coming back out again. You know, in case you missed him coming out last night.
(2:36) They literally brought Taker back out to do the same thing he did last night. Walk out, wave, walk to one side of the stage, wave, walk to the other side of the stage, wave, walk to the center of the stage, wave, and leave. We didn’t even get to see anyone else from this year’s Hall Of Fame class. It was just Taker this time. Okay then. I mean, I get it. It’s definitely more for the live crowd than it was for the viewers at home, but they could’ve at least had him do something different tonight.
(2:38) It is time for Pat McAfee vs Austin Theory. This show has 90 minutes left if it’s going to be as long as last night’s show was. This is the only match left, other than the main event. One, or both, of these matches is going really long. Or we’re getting something unannounced. Maybe the show just isn’t going to be as long tonight. I guess we’ll see. Watch McAfee vs Theory go 45 minutes now.
(2:42) Vince McMahon himself is coming out to the ring. Promo time.
(2:43) Vince introduced Theory for the match, calling him a future Universal Champion. I’ve been telling you guys for a few years now that Vince was going to fall in love with Theory. Sure enough.
(2:46) The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are out for McAfee’s entrance, and he walks out to “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. Well, that should definitely get the crowd going.
(2:47) McAfee, the former All-Pro Punter in the NFL, punted a football DEEEEEP into the crowd. Makes sense.
(2:49) McAfee with a motherfucking Hurricanrana!
(2:50) Vince is sitting at ringside, which means that fucking stooge Bruce Prichard is probably the one yelling at the commentary team.
(2:50) LOUD “singing” of “Seven Nation Army” by the crowd, trying to motivate McAfee, who is currently being beaten down by Theory.
(2:53) McAfee is pulling an Attitude Era Rock and Austin, hopping on commentary and talking trash while he gets back on offense. I dig it.
(2:54) This motherfather tried a Swanton Bomb… which looked great, by the way… but Theory moved out of the way.
(2:56) McAfee just pulled a Kurt Angle and jumped from the mat to the top rope and delivered a Superplex to Theory. Good Lord. This guy is out of his mind.
(2:58) Pat McAfee gets the roll-up victory, and the crowd loses their fucking minds! A huge pop, followed by more “singing” to his entrance music. What a performance. We knew he had it in him after his stuff in NXT, but this was so much fun.
(2:59) McAfee gets on the turnbuckles and appears to challenge Vince to a fight. My goodness. Vince has taken his jacket and shirt off. Lawdamercy. Tank Top Vince is in the ring. We have a ref in there!
(3:01) It was obviously a setup, as Theory attacked McAfee from behind, but the bell rang… we’re having a match! It’s time for Pat McAfee vs Vince McMahon!
(3:03) After a few clotheslines by Vince, McAfee finally gets fired up… only to be attacked by Theory again.
(3:05) Vince picks up the win after gently punting a football into McAfee’s ribs while McAfee was selling a groin shot by Theory.
(3:07) STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! As Vince and Theory are celebrating in the ring, the glass shatters, bringing “Stone Cold” Steve Austin back out. The fucking roof of the stadium nearly blew off again. In what was a hilarious miscue, Vince reacted to Theory’s music with horror on his face for a second before realizing it wasn’t the right song. Two seconds later, Austin’s entrance took place, meaning Vince jumped the gun a bit.
(3:10) After disposing of Theory, Stone Cold shares a beer with Vince, only to kick him in the gut, causing Vince to stagger back and damn near fall out of the ring. Austin picks him up and hits him with a Stunner from a weird angle, as Vince still hadn’t regained his balance, causing Vince to give one of the worst Stone Cold Stunner sells of all-time. Incredible.
(3:12) Austin brings McAfee back into the ring for a celebration, but, of course… McAfee eats a Stone Cold Stunner, too! I just realized that I didn’t rate the McAfee vs Theory match. Well, it was less of a match, and more of a collection of spots to pop the crowd, but it was a lot of fun. 3.25 stars. No, I will not give a rating to McAfee vs Vince.
(3:18) Main event time. Brock Lesnar. Roman Reigns. Winner Takes All.
(3:22) Reigns is out first. Nothing new in his entrance. He is accompanied to the ring, as usual, by Paul Heyman and The Usos.
(3:26) After a nearly five-minute entrance, it’s promo time for Reigns. He wants WrestleMania to acknowledge him.
(3:27) Nothing new for Lesnar’s entrance, either. One of the biggest surprises of the entire weekend is that this match featured nothing new or special about the entrances.\
(3:30) I am fucking PUMPED for this. I’m ready to give it 28 stars already.
(3:32) Heyman handled the pre-match introduction for Reigns, and Lesnar handled his own introduction. I’m sad his voice didn’t crack this time.
(3:32) That “Vancouver For WrestleMania” sign has been at WWE events for at least a couple decades now, I believe. Still no WrestleMania in Vancouver. How sad.
(3:34) Lesnar is all smiles as he looks completely dominant to start.
(3:35) “IT WAS ALL HIS IDEA! I LOVE YOU! PLEASE TAKE ME BACK!” – Paul Heyman, to Brock Lesnar, as Brock stalks him at ringside. Reigns takes advantage of a distracted Lesnar and sends him crashing through the barricade.
(3:38) Brock was just hit with two Spears and a Superman Punch, but he laughed it off and took Roman right back to Suplex City. He’s a monster.
(3:40) This has been everything it needed to be so far. I’ll hit you with everything I have, and then you hit me with everything you have, and we’ll keep going until one of us can’t do it anymore.
(3:41) Ref bump! Reigns takes advantage with a shot the Brock’s little Brocks. He takes Lesnar down with a Universal Title shot to the dome, but it only gets two as the ref miraculously comes back to life.
(3:44) Brock counters a Spear into a Kimura Lock. That looked amazing!
(3:45) Roman makes the ropes to break the hold, slips out of an F5 attempt, and then hits another Spear to pick up the win! Roman Reigns is now the Universal Champion AND the WWE Champion, according to the on-screen graphic. Michael Cole says that the titles have been unified. Does Roman just appear on both shows, or does Raw find a way to get a World Title again? Man, that match was what it needed to be. Two movie monsters dropping bombs on each other. Let’s call it 4 stars.
(3:49) We go off the air with Reigns and Heyman celebrating on the entrance ramp while Brock contemplates life in the ring. No surprises. No appearances from The Rock like many hoped for.
One of the biggest and most Sports Entertain-y WrestleManias of all-time. I’m exhausted, folks. I gotta get out of here. I’ll see you all in my usual Wednesday spot.