Wrestlemania XXXVIII Night Two
Date: April 3, 2022
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, Jimmy Smith
America The Beautiful: Jesse James Decker
We’re back for night two and that means the other half of the card gets their chance (plus one match from the original night because of timing issues). The main event is the latest biggest match ever as Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar have their unification match to make one World Title for all of…eh maybe they make it to Summerslam. Let’s get to it.
Note that I was in attendance for this show, sitting in the third level off the floor in the end zone corner with the stage on my right.
Jesse Jane Decker sings America the Beautiful.
We get a recap from last night.
Mark Wahlberg narrates the opening video, but unlike last year it’s a fresh one for the second night. Wahlberg talks about how it is tough to do it again so we’re running Wrestlemania back. He hypes up the main event to wrap it up. Again, just having a star do this makes it feel more important.
Here is HHH for a surprise appearance to get things going. After taking a long time to soak it all in (fair) and hugging his daughters in the front row (also fair), he puts his boots in the middle of the ring to confirm his. He does have one thing for us though: WELCOME TO WRESTLEMANIA! More daughter hugging ensues.
Gable Steveson is presented to the crowd. Again.
Raw Tag Team Titles: RKBro vs. Alpha Academy vs. Street Profits
RKBro is defending and these teams have been fighting back and forth for weeks. The champs also have what sounds like a mash up of their themes and that isn’t the best idea. Ford, Riddle and Gable start things off, with the latter giving us some SHUSHING. That doesn’t go well for Riddle, who knocks Gable outside and rolls Ford up for an early two. Ford is back with a running clothesline to drop Riddle but Gable is back in to go after Ford as well.
Everything breaks down and Otis clears the ring without much trouble. The six way staredown leads to three brawls at once but quickly settles down to Ford vs. Gable. That works for Ford, who hits a HUGE running flip dive over the top onto the pile. Gable adds a moonsault onto the same pile and everyone is down on the floor. Back in and Otis runs Riddle over before hitting a splash for no cover, which doesn’t seem to be the best idea. Instead Otis knocks Riddle into the corner and brings Gable back in for two off a northern lights suplex.
Ford comes in with a dropkick to Gable, who monkey flips him over and onto Ford’s own face for two. It’s off to Dawkins to clean house and cover Riddle for two, with Otis hitting a splash to break it up. Riddle knees his way out of an ankle lock and gives Dawkins a Bro To Sleep (that’ll get some reactions), allowing the hot tag off to Orton. Everything breaks down and Orton drops Gable and Dawkins onto the announcers’ table.
Back in and RKBro hits stereo hanging DDTs onto the Profits but the Academy makes stereo saves. The Academy hits a Steiner Bulldog for two on Ford but Otis’ Vader Bomb is broken up. The Profits get Gable up for a Doomsday Blockbuster and another near fall as the fans declare this awesome. Orton can’t RKO Dawkins, who gives him the Sky High. Ford goes up for the frog splash but Riddle springboards in with the RKO to pull him back down. Orton pulls Gable out of the air with another RKO for the pin to retain the titles at 11:30.
Rating: B-. This was a great choice for an opener as the fans love RKBro and the action made it a very entertaining match. It also didn’t overstay its welcome and got out after getting its stuff in. RKBro retaining works here, but that split is coming and it is going to be a heck of a hot feud if they do it right.
Post match the Profits offer RKBro some yum yum juice, but hold on as Gable Steveson is invited in too. Chad doesn’t like that and cuts them off, slapping the cup from Steveson’s hand. That’s too far for everyone else, so Chad is left alone with Steveson. The belly to belly suplex sends Chad flying and drinking ensues. Steveson had to start somewhere.
Remember last night? It happened.
Omos vs. Bobby Lashley
Omos issued a challenge and Lashley accepted it. Lashley’s kick to the ribs is easily blocked and Omos forearms him down without much trouble. Lashley fights back and tries a suplex, which doesn’t work either. A head vice is broken up so Omos forearms Lashley down again. Some running splashes in the corner connect but Omos misses another one, allowing Lashley to try a failed Hurt Lock attempt.
Omos gives him a gorilla press drop and tells Lashley to get up so the bearhug can go on. A drive into the corner sets up another bearhug but Lashley slugs his way out. More slugging sets up a suplex to drop Omos and a spear to the back does it again. The regular spear finishes for Lashley at 6:32.
Rating: D+. I’m sorry what now? You build Omos up as this unstoppable force and then just have him lose clean in a six and a half minute match? Lashley getting a big win is nice to see and he’s probably in the title picture already, but Omos losing is going to take away just about everything he had. He’ll be around, probably as a bodyguard again, but if they want him as a singles guy (which they might not), this was bizarre. It wasn’t a very good match either, as Omos did a bunch of basic power guy stuff which is hardly interesting.
WWE does charity stuff.
We recap Johnny Knoxville vs. Sami Zayn. Knoxville decided he wanted to wrestle but Zayn didn’t like it. This set off a way of pranks/general annoyances, including Zayn eliminating Knoxville from the Royal Rumble and Knoxville putting Zayn’s phone number on a banner in Los Angeles. A match must ensue.
Johnny Knoxville vs. Sami Zayn
Anything goes and some of Knoxville’s Jackass friends are in the front row (popular place to be tonight). Zayn wastes no time in hitting the Helluva Kick and knocking Knoxville to the floor where more stomping can ensue. That isn’t enough as Zayn goes after the Jackass crew, allowing Knoxville to spray him with a fire extinguisher. Knoxville busts out some of the weapons but Zayn hits him in the back with the cookie sheet.
A crutch shot does it again and Zayn throws a trashcan at him for two, allowing commentary to get in some Sanford And Sons references. It’s table time…but this one has mousetraps all over it, because of course it does. That takes too long though and Knoxville is back with some trashcan lids to the head. A regular table is loaded up in the corner but Zayn suplexes him through it for two.
The Helluva Kick is cut off by a blast from an air horn, allowing….some other Jackass guy (Party Boy Pawnius?) to come in and take his clothes off. Zayn knocks him outside and kicks him underneath the ring, only to have Wee Man (he’s small) come out and beat Zayn up. Wee Man kicks away at Zayn and hits a slam, setting up a tornado DDT from Knoxville for two. It’s time to bring out something that appears to be a way to launch a boot for automatic low blows, meaning Zayn fights out to break it up.
Zayn goes up but Knoxville pulls out a remote to make pyro go out, causing Zayn to crotch himself. Knoxville grabs a bowling ball to crush Zayn low in the corner and now its taser time. Zayn runs…right into a giant hand which slaps him down. That’s too much for Zayn as he drops Knoxville and goes up, only to get crotched and thrown through the mousetrap table. Back in and Knoxville busts out….a giant mousetrap. Zayn is tased onto it and, after some effort, Knoxville gets it to go off and crush Zayn for the pin at 14:25 (ignore Zayn’s shoulders being on the trap rather than the mat).
Rating: C+. This is going to be a weird one. You know what this felt like? Home Alone as a wrestling match. Zayn was trying to do something but Knoxville busted out so many elaborate traps and pranks (read as violence) to stop him at every turn. Of course Knoxville’s friends were here as they should have been in a situation like this, but it’s much more a big stunt show than a match.
It’s also a good case of something not being for me but having an impact. The stadium was ROCKING during this match and the energy was very high. I don’t watch Jackass and the concept is REALLY not something I care for but the reaction was there and that is why these guys were brought in. Whether it made business sense is hard to tell, but a lot of the fans loved this and that is enough to carry it beyond….whatever it was.
Remember Drew McIntyre beating Happy Corbin and cutting the ropes up with his sword? It happened last night.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Naomi/Sasha Banks vs. Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley vs. Natalya/Shayna Baszler vs. Carmella/Queen Zelina
Carmella/Zelina are defending and Naomi/Banks come out in a VERY expensive looking car. Ripley/Morgan have a Batman or Catwoman theme going to at least have something in common. Corey wastes no time in praising Carmella, who is in part of a wedding dress for her entrance gear.
Carmella masks up so Ripley wants to face her. That brings Carmella in but she hands it off to Banks, who actually tries a test of strength with Ripley. With that not working, Banks tries a Backstabber, which falls apart too. Everything breaks down and some dives leave us with Banks vs. Morgan. A Codebreaker staggers Banks and Oblivion drops her but Natalya tags herself in for a save. Baszler comes in to stomp on Morgan’s ankle until an enziguri breaks it up.
Carmella tags herself in as well and everything breaks down and it’s time for the parade of finishers. Ripley’s superbomb is countered into a hurricanrana from Carmella and we get stereo Towers of Doom out of the corners, leaving everyone down again. Back up and Morgan knocks Naomi into Riptide for two with a save being made.
Baszler’s running knee to Naomi’s face gets two with Morgan making the save this time. Carmella superkicks Baszler and Naomi for two each, meaning screaming ensues. Back up and Naomi kicks Carmella in the face, setting up Banks’ frog splash for two. Banks hits a Meteora to drop Zelina on the floor and Naomi elevates Carmella for a Codebreaker from Banks for the pin and the titles at 10:48.
Rating: D+. This was all over the place and as usual, there is no reason to care about these teams. They were thrown together and given next to no story other than “we want the titles too”. I was having trouble remembering who was on what team as they might as well have drawn names from a hat. In other words, it’s a WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match.
Remember Miz and Logan Paul beating the Mysterios and then splitting up after? It happened last night.
Some Dallas Cowboys are here to a mixed reaction.
We recap Edge vs. AJ Styles. Edge wanted someone to step up so Styles did, with Edge saying he wanted the bulldog version of Styles. Then Edge went nuts and beat down Styles with a Conchairto, putting Styles out of action for a few weeks. Now Styles is back for revenge.
AJ Styles vs. Edge
Styles comes to the ring with a pretty nasty cut on the side of his face that has commentary (and me) confused. Edge appears on an elevated throne sitting on a slightly burning platform, which is at least a cool visual (though I thought it was a statue in the stadium). Styles backs him into the corner to start and then does it again for a bonus. The drop down into the dropkick sets up some armdrags to put Edge in trouble and some kicks to the leg make it worse.
We settle down a bit with some staring before Edge gets sent to the floor. That lets Styles hit a sliding knee but the springboard 450 only hits knees back inside. Edge starts going after the ribs as the pace slows down a lot. The abdominal stretch is broken up but Edge takes him down with a shoulder breaker to change up the pace. Styles hits a right hand but seems to have to stop and pop his shoulder back in. A suplex sends Edge hard into the corner and they’re both down again.
Edge grabs a double arm crank but has to avoid the Styles Clash. That works out well enough for him though as it’s off to an STF to put Styles in more trouble, though he’s straight over to the rope. A slingshot DDT plants Edge for two, though he’s fine enough to catch Styles on top. Styles slips out and gets a torture rack, which he swings over into a powerbomb for two more. Back up and Styles snaps off a German suplex and they’re both down again.
Styles wins the slugout and adds a Pele kick, setting up the Calf Crusher. Edge reverses that into the Crossface so Styles gets to the ropes again. A slingshot Batista Bomb gives Edge two so they both go up top. This time Styles superplexes him down onto the apron, because WE MUST HAVE AN APRON SPOT.
Now the springboard 450 connects on Edge’s back for a delayed two and they need a breather. Back up and Edge misses the spear, setting up the Styles Clash for two more. With nothing else working, the Phenomenal Forearm is loaded up….and here is Damian Priest for a distraction. Styles tries the Forearm but gets speared out of the air to give Edge the pin at 24:32.
Rating: B-. The action was good, but there were so many delays between that action that it was hard to build anything up. It felt like a main event level match and Styles was hardly crushed, but the Saturday version was much better with Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes doing a similar match. This was by no means bad, but it needed to be about eight minutes shorter to cut out a lot of the down time between moves.
Post match Edge and Priest stare at each other, pose and then leave together.
Tonight’s attendance is 78,453, though the announcer says 77,453. Get it together people.
Sheamus/Ridge Holland vs. New Day
Butch is here with the villains. We see the Big E. injury during the entrances, which isn’t something that should be aired that often (by which I mean ever). In a great touch, New Day wears Big E. style singlets, even in the colors Big E. was wearing when he won the WWE Title. Sheamus and Holland jump them during the entrances and rip off the coats, leaving Butch to throw them around.
Trouble in Paradise hits Holland for two at the bell but Sheamus makes the save. Sheamus has to keep Butch from going nuts though, leaving Woods to drop Holland. The Brogue Kick drops Kingston and Butch distracts the referee so Sheamus can Brogue Woods as well. Holland’s Northern Grit finishes woods at 1:39. So Holland (unintentionally) injures Big E. and then gets the pin here, as Butch is now some near feral boy? Right.
Post match Butch has to be pulled off of Woods again, because Pete Dunne is now a crazy man who needs supervision.
Remember when Cody Rhodes returned and beat Seth Rollins? It happened last night.
We honor the Hall of Fame inductees again…including the Undertaker coming out to wave to the crowd. This is the same thing he did last night and here it is again. On a show that is going to be about eight hours combined over two nights, this gets five minutes.
You can bet on the main event!
You can buy Undertaker gear!
You can watch Yellowstone on Peacock!
Long recap of Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory, which was set up when Vince McMahon told McAfee he could have a match. Then Theory started messing with McAfee, who got serious. For some reason, this required Theory to beat both the United States and Intercontinental Champion but show no interest in winning either title. We do get some very cool clips of McAfee training before he came to WWE, just because he wanted to. That’s some serious dedication, and a Rip Rogers cameo always helps.
Austin Theory vs. Pat McAfee
Vince McMahon comes out to introduce Theory, his new….protege? I guess? McAfee on the other hand gets an introduction from the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and even punts a football into the crowd during his entrance. McAfee punches him down to start but Theory comes out of the corner with a shot to the throat. A jumping elbow out of the corner and a hurricanrana get McAfee out of trouble as Vince isn’t pleased at ringside.
Theory is back with a snap suplex and then he does it again for a bonus. The third attempt is blocked though and McAfee hits one of his own. They go outside where McAfee does the Rock’s commentary on his own match bit, including a mention of his parents. Back in and McAfee takes WAY too long setting up a Swanton and crashes down hard.
Theory goes up top but McAfee cuts him off and tries a superplex. That’s broken up so McAfee backflips off the top and lands on his feet, only to jump back to the top for the superplex (dang) and a near fall as Cole is WAY behind McAfee here. The Punt misses though and Theory knocks him down again. Theory loads up the ATL…and gets reversed into a rollup to give McAfee the pin at 9:37.
Rating: C+. That’s on quite the sliding scale as McAfee is in his third WWE match and hasn’t been in the ring in well over a year. I know Theory is going to be fine and it’s a special situation, but this doesn’t exactly make him pinning Finn Balor and Ricochet look very worthwhile. Again though, the fans were WAY into this and that’s all that matters in this case. Not a great match, but McAfee has put in the work and looked competent out there.
Post match Vince glares at Theory and looks up at McAfee….who challenges McMahon for a fight right now. Vince takes off the jacket and shirt, revealing his signature wrestling look (which matches McAfee). Cole is panicking as Vince gets in the ring but then gets even worse when a referee shows up.
Vince McMahon vs. Pat McAfee
Austin Theory jumps McAfee from behind to start so McMahon hits some clotheslines. McAfee gets fired up though and stares at Vince…until Austin pulls him down and crotches him against the post. Theory isn’t done though as he throws Vince a football. Vince teases punting it into the crowd before punting it into McAfee’s ribs (that didn’t really work, though I don’t think it was supposed to be anything more than a final insult) for the pin at 3:42.
Rating: D+. This was barely a match (Vince wasn’t touched) and I thought about not even rating it. McAfee gets cheated out of the win but much like last night in the main event, the point of this is having him in the same ring as a legend like McMahon. This is probably going to be (and should be) Vince’s last match ever so there is definitely some awesome historical significance, but it was just Vince hitting some clotheslines and taunting. That being said, WHY DID THEY NOT ANNOUNCE THIS IN ADVANCE??? At least Austin made it clear that a fight was coming, but Vince wasn’t even listed in Theory’s corner.
Post match Theory gets to pose and we have the big hug. Theory’s music starts and Vince panics, which is a warmup for CUE GLASS SHATTER as Steve Austin is here (as you might have guessed). Theory goes after him and gets punched into the corner to set up the Stunner. That leaves Austin alone with Vince, meaning it’s time to get scared. Beer is offered though and Vince accepts, despite looking terrified.
They drink together until Austin tries the Stunner, which goes horribly, horribly wrong. Vince basically falls down and then into the ropes, bounces back, and then goes down first, leaving Austin to land on Vince’s legs. Look this up, as it was so bad that I was unable to speak from laughter. Austin has some beers with McAfee, who gets Stunned as well. The big beer bash is on, with McAfee being shown sneaking in a drink while down on the floor. This was one more farewell for Austin, though it’s a good thing the timekeeper had that much beer around.
Remember when Bianca Belair beat Becky Lynch to win the Raw Women’s Title in a pretty great match? It happened last night.
Wrestlemania XXXIX is in Los Angeles.
We recap Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in the World Title unification match. They have been fighting for months (this time, as it’s really more like years) and now it is decided that there can only be one World Champion. Reigns and the Usos laid Lesnar out in Madison Square Garden to make this even more serious/personal. What better place than right here?
Universal Title/WWE Title: Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
Winner take all and Reigns has Paul Heyman with him for a very long entrance. Reigns also gets to tell Wrestlemania to acknowledge him so we can get in another catchphrase before we actually start. Hold on again as we need Big Match intros, with Heyman and Lesnar taking care of the work.
Lesnar hammers away to start and drives Reigns into the corner for some shoulders to ribs. Three overhead belly to belly suplexes have Reigns in more trouble and they head outside. That means Heyman has to panic (Heyman: “I love you! It was all Reigns’ idea!”), which is enough of a distraction for Reigns to sear Lent through the barricade (as tends to happen a lot). Back in and Reigns hits the spear for two, followed by the Superman Punch.
That’s too far for Lesnar, who starts rolling the released German suplexes. Lesnar is holding his ribs, but keeps coming back because this is serious. Another German suplex is countered into another Superman Punch and Lesnar is rocked again. Reigns tries another spear but gets reversed into the F5 for two more.
Another F5 is countered with a rake to the eyes and Reigns knocks Lesnar into the referee. A low blow and belt shot cut Lesnar down for two and frustration is setting in. The spear hits Lesnar in the back so Reigns tries it again, only to get pulled into the Kimura. The rope (which is shoved forward by Heyman) is grabbed for the break but they’re both down. Reigns says it’s out, meaning his shoulder, but comes back with a spear for the pin and the unified titles at 12:14.
Rating: C+. This was a slightly extended version of the stereotypical match that these guys have. You had an exchange of finishers and then someone won, which might be a bit exciting but has been done to death in recent years. Reigns winning was hardly a surprise, but it would have been nicer to see it come in a match with some more drama or intrigue instead of the same formula Lesnar has used for so long.
Reigns poses with Heyman and the titles as Lesnar glares at them to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. It wasn’t a disaster like last year’s night two, but this was just ok for the most part. The biggest flaw should be obvious: the amount of time that this show spends on recaps or ANYTHING but getting to the matches advertised. I don’t need to see the matches from last night in fairly long recaps, as I was there to see the show live. Contrary to what WWE thinks, it might be a good idea to cut some things out, but that might not let them fill in so much time that they can brag about later.
As for the wrestling itself, nothing really stands out. There are some good matches, but nothing that is really worth going out of your way to see (your individual mousetrap enjoyment may vary). The show felt like such a rehash of last night, with Austin and Undertaker getting that much time each. It isn’t terrible, but I had fun with the first night and this felt like a followup that you didn’t need to watch.
Overall Overall Rating: B-. Overall, the lesson here continues to be simple: Wrestlemania does not need to be a two night event as WWE does not have the amount of content necessary to make it work. There is SO MUCH FILLER on here that it feels like it could have been trimmed down by about four hours. They hit about eight hours combined, and that isn’t even counting in the four hours of Kickoff Shows.
Now that being said, there is more than enough good in here to make it a show worth seeing (or at least flipping through). This year was all about Austin, Undertaker and McMahon, with Reigns vs. Lesnar feeling almost secondary to what Austin was doing. That won’t sit well with some, but the atmosphere for Austin makes up for so much. Trim it down and it’s great, but as it is, it’s just good.
RKBro b. Street Profits and Alpha Academy – RKO to Gable
Bobby Lashley b. Omos – Spear
Johnny Knoxville b. Sami Zayn – Knoxville pinned Zayn while he was trapped in a giant mousetrap
Naomi/Sasha Banks b. Liv Morgan/Rhea Ripley, Natalya/Shayna Baszler and Carmella/Queen Zelina – Elevated Codebreaker to Carmella
Edge b. AJ Styles – Spear
Ridge Holland/Sheamus b. New Day – Northern Grit to Woods
Pat McAfee b. Austin Theory – Rollup
Vince McMahon b. Pat McAfee – Football to the ribs
Roman Reigns b. Brock Lesnar – Spear
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