WrestleMania 38 was an interesting PPV that entertained far beyond what was expected of the entire show. From Stone Cold’s comeback after 20 years to Roman Reigns cheating to win “The Biggest Match in WrestleMania History, these are the ratings for the show.
The Usos def. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships – ★★
This was serviceable, but hampered by Rick Boogs actual injury. Not sure if the match finish would have been different, but probably not. Shinsuke deserves better.
Drew McIntyre def. Happy Corbin – ★★1/2
Nothing new here, but Drew looked strong as he kicked out of the End of Days. Probably would rank higher if it wasn’t a rehash of the same tired rivalry. Bonus for the End of Days kick out and the sword spot afterward.
The Miz and Logan Paul def. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio – ★★★1/2
Logan Paul looked great and is a natural at the game. His 3 Amigos and Frog Splash are on point. The Miz and Mysterio are as consistent, and Dominik appears to only be slowly growing as a performer. Loved The Miz betraying Paul after, hated how Paul was corpsing in the meantime. Send for the man!
Bianca Belair def. Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship – ★★★★
This was a fantastic bout, probably Belair’s shining moment as a true babyface and star of the company. Physicality was intense, and Becky played up the villain role looking like an absolute beast. Great stuff. Hooray for Belair.
Cody Rhodes def. Seth “Freakin'” Rollins – ★★★★1/2 [MATCH OF THE NIGHT]
Cody Rhodes re-entered the WWE and immediately had a classic with Rollins. All the references to Stardust, the “big leagues”, Dusty Rhodes, and the story told in the ring were masterful. Not only was it the match of the night, but it was Cody’s best match since his bout with Brodie Lee for the TNT Championship in AEW. Seth Rollins looked amazing and while he should be booked a bit stronger, he remains an unmissable attraction in the WWE.
Charlotte Flair def. Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown Women’s Championship – ★★★
Kind of a standard women’s match, with only a bit of heightened drama. Shame to see another screwy finish to a Ronda Rousey WrestleMania match but thems the breaks. Charlotte continues to be booked like the strongest person in WWE not named Roman Reigns, and it is a bit stale but the match itself was fine.
Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Kevin Owens – ★★★★
Context is key here because as a match itself it is just a brawl. However, the KO Show segment beforehand was excellent, with Owens scathingly berating Texas and Stone Cold to a chorus of boos from the crowd. Austin was never an extremely athletic in-ring performer after his neck injury and was about 5% slower than he used to be but for 2 decades to pass, he did excellently. The brawling to the crowd and stage, along with the ATV spots and the bumps Austin took, it was truly a spectacle.
RK-Bro def. The Street Profits and Alpha Academy to retain the Raw Tag-Team Championships – ★★★1/2
In contrast to the SmackDown tag-team championship match, this was a breath of fresh air. Everyone looked great, Montez Ford especially as he was bumping and flipping and flying all over the place. Riddle worked most of the match and is seemingly paying his dues before making a main event run in the future. The segment with Gable Steveson is a bit forced but we gotta get him in some segment apparently.
Bobby Lashley def. Omos – ★1/2
This is probably the worst match that both of these men have had in the WWE so far. Omos has been relatively protected in short matches and appearances, along with having AJ Styles as a teammate to do most of the heavy lifting, ironically. Unfortunately, this match showed that Bobby Lashley is no ring general and Omos is still green as grass, as they say. Hopefully, they can put a better rematch when it happens how that MVP is siding with Omos.
Johnny Knoxville def. Sami Zayn – ★★★★ [MATCH OF THE NIGHT]
Outside of being an absolutely ridiculous affair, this was like a literal Looney Tunes cartoon come to life. It was hilarious. Yes, traditionalists will be disgusted by the gimmicks here but it served its purpose of being entertaining. Zayn looked goofy, but not pathetic in defeat as he more-or-less took on about 5 guys throughout the contest. All the gags were just great, but it is clear that this is not for everyone but as someone who grew up with a VHS tape of King of The Ring 2000 where Gerald Brisco took on Pat Patterson in a hardcore Evening Gown Match, this was another comedic spectacular up there.
Sasha Banks and Naomi def. Carmella & Zelina Vega and Liv Morgan & Rhea Ripley for the Women’s Tag Team Championship – ★★
It was nice to see the Women’s Tag Team Championships, in general, but there is nothing much to this match outside of Sasha Banks and Naomi’s awesome entrance with the Lamborghini. WWE needs to stop putting Rhea Ripley with light-hearted companions and pair her up with Shayna Baszler or something. Speaking of which, not a fan of the vague dominatrix vibes that Rhea and Liv were giving off, it is just so cringe-worthy.
Edge def. AJ Styles – ★★★1/2
Despite both being long-time veterans and icons of the industry, the two did not seem to gel all that well. The match kind of drags at points, and does not live up to the hype. The finish with Damien Priest distracting AJ was lame, but just about everyone called that Phenomenal Forearm into the Spear spot. Good stuff, not great. Hopefully, AJ can get another run at the main titles, and hopefully, Edge’s faction goes somewhere.
Sheamus and Ridge Holland (with Butch) def. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods – ★1/2
Not much to say except that maybe the match could have gone longer if they cut out some of the video packages in the show. Nice to see Woods and Kingston pay tribute to Big E by wearing gear like his. I like Butch being this crazy little scrapper but it is kind of condescending.
Pat McAfee def. Austin Theory (with Vince McMahon) – ★★★
This was a decent match, and McAfee impressed the crowd and fans again with his natural in-ring ability. Theory looks like he has a lot of learning to do in terms of character work, however, he still comes across as a bit bland. Nice to see Vince McMahon come out, but it was nicer to see him actually wrestle…
Vince McMahon def. Pat McAfee – ★★
If you combine this score with the last, it is a 5-star segment. Vince is over 70 years old. Think about that. He is still in great shape for his age and he actually took a bump. Of course, he overdid the shtick a bit and semi-spoiled the Austin run-in when he got scared of Austin Theory’s music but eh. It was nice to see Austin give a stunner to the boss, probably for the last time ever. Some were upset by it, but sorry pal, its Vince’s world and we’re just living in it.
Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman) def. Brock Lesnar for the Universal and WWE Championship – ★★★
This was over before it really began. Reports say that Roman was legitimately injured but if he was, he wouldn’t have been able to lift both titles. Seemed like a work. Either way, it hurts his character to see him cheat to win matches. He is up there with the likes of JBL and unfortunately, this was a foregone conclusion. Hopefully, this is it for their rivalry, because this was honestly the most disappointing match of the entire event.
Overall Show Grade: B
This was a classic WrestleMania. It might not have had one of the highest workrates of an event, but it was entertaining from start to finish with some segments not being as good as others but still serviceable. Wish there were matches for the Intercontinental or United States Championships, and it was very reliant on the celebrities but it was still a good show.