WrestleMania 38 – Sunday
April 3, 2022
MEET OUR REVIEWERS
Steve Case: Last night was a fun show. This show is a lot less stellar looking on paper, but could be a lot more ridiculous. It really feels like fodder to buy time until Brock and Roman hit the ring. Here’s hoping it’s as pleasantly surprising as last night. Follow Steve @Coachcase44 and purchase his better half’s children’s book, Python For Babies if you’re more into programming and coding than sweaty men and women sports entertaining.
Joey O’Doherty: WWE have gained good momentum following last night’s fun show, but this card on Night 2 isn’t as appealing on paper. Some matches could range from loads of fun to excellent if the stars aline, but with some potential stinkers present too, it’s anyone’s guess what happens tonight. Follow Joey at @AwesomeoJoe and his podcast, Wild Thing @MoxPodcast on Twitter.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) © def. The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) & Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis)
Steve: When was the last time a WWE show had a hot, exciting opener like that? We got dives right from the start and this was pretty good action all the way to the finish. Otis is so big he looks like an 80’s mid-carder who is stiffing jobbers with his bicep. It’s actually a good role for him. The Street Profits should be a huge act, and Montez Ford should be trending toward stardom. Orton finally found the perfect gig. He’s got Riddle taking 75% of the match and bumping all over the place, sleeps on the outside, and comes in for the RKO and pin. The dude is living the dream. Fun opening match! ***1/2
Joey: A cracking opener to start the show. Two massive dives from Montez Ford and then Chad Gable brought the crowd to life and it was a high energy affair from start to finish. Everyone looked great here and had time to shine, with all 5 men ,excluding Orton, doing their best to make this a rare WWE hot opener. Orton is a hoot, as he does the bare minimum before hitting an RKO for the win. No idea why Street Profits were so happy in defeat or why they wanted to party with the charisma vacuum that is Gable Steveson, but it gave WWE viewers their first glimpse at the latest Olympic hero. He’s no Kurt Angle at first glance. ***3/4
Bobby Lashley def. Omos
Steve: HOSS FIGHT! Omos’ angry face is terrifying. His selling face looks like a cartoon dad who slipped on a banana peel. There is only so much Omos can do, so this match had a ceiling, but I do think they reached it. Bobby Lashley is one of the only wrestlers outside of the two in the main event this company has gotten right. He gets to look, act, and be booked like an ass kicker. Watching him throw around Omos at the end and eventually spearing him for the win was awesome. Good match. ***1/4
Joey: Strictly physically speaking, Omos looks impressive. Lashley is a big dude but he’s tiny next to the big Nigerian. That said, from an in-ring perspective he is the pits. It was no Giant Gonzalez vs Taker from Caesar’s Palace, but it wasn’t very good either. Omos is extremely limited and this match was a bore due to his involvement. It was quick enough and Lashley got his Andre moment, so I suppose it’s not a complete waste. *¼
Anything Goes Match: Johnny Knoxville def. Sami Zayn
Steve: Listen, if you are looking at this like it was supposed to be a wrestling match, this absolutely stunk. If you are looking at this like it was an episode of Jackass in a wrestling ring, it was big dumb fun. This was absolute nonsense, but I couldn’t help but laugh a bit. Knoxville basically got squashed until the Jackass crew got involved and there were tables covered in mouse traps, mechanical nut kickers, Party Boy, and Sami Zayn getting caught in a pin by a giant mouse trap. The super worker Sami Zayn is dead and gone. This Sami Zayn is a cartoon villain disintegrating into ash after opening a box with a bomb in it. Hard to rate this. JACKA**
Joey: The main takeaway from this match is that Wee Man can bodyslam guys better than Dominik Mysterio and Johnny Knoxville can sell better than Tamina Snuka. Knoxville was a mixture of Andy Kaufmann and Al Snow, as he and Sami Zayn had a comedy match that was all kinds of wrestling crap. It was nonsense, but enjoyable nonsense and Sami more or less killed himself on that top rope table bump. Unintentional callbacks to Scott Hall and Jimmy Jacobs were present as Knoxville Benny Hill’ed his way to victory. Pure wrestling bollox and I enjoyed it this way too much. MOTN. *****
— WrestleMania Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 4, 2022
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Sasha Banks & Naomi def. Queen Zelina & Carmella (c), Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan, & Natalya & Shayna Baszler
Steve: There was absolutely nothing wrong with this match, there was just absolutely nothing special about it either. The women worked hard and went through the usual multi-man spots, but how could anyone possibly care? Just look at these teams! At least Sasha got the consolation prize with the pin in the big moment. That’ll keep her wolves at bay. Again, everything in this was solid, just I don’t know how anyone could possibly care about it at all. **3/4
Joey: No Tamina or Dana Brooke, so it’s already a win before the entrances are made. This match did contain a plethora of underutilised talent in Rhea Ripley, Shayna Baszler and Sasha Banks, as well as WWE lifers Nattie and Naomi. Nobodies such as Liv Morgan, Queen Zelina and Darkman cosplayer Carmella also participated. I couldn’t care less, so I went and made pizza. I am confident I made the correct choice. Pizza was ****.
Edge def. AJ Styles
Steve: How did AJ get color before the match? Did he sneak out and work Ninja Mack at Tulips? Did he get too close to a stray dog? Did he shave in the dark and try to trim the beard? Did he try to question the wrong scientist?
There are people that legitimately LOVE Edge and call him one of the best ever. I am not one of those men. AJ I would absolutely call that, even if he’s been on autopilot the last 4-5 years. All that said, this was one of the better matches I’ve seen from these two. The pace of the match I expected to be at a snail’s pace, but they were flying around at a normal speed, making it seem like a sprint. Damian Priest distracted AJ which led to Edge hitting a spear for the victory. They did enough to make it interesting but not enough to make it memorable. ***1/2
Joey: This match teased you with the proposition of clicking into gear on several occasions, but it never actually happened. It was fine, nothing wrong with any of the work, but it just bored me. Nothing seemed important and the pace was plodding at times. Edge in 2006 had it in his locker to deliver a top match, in 2022 he just sucks the life out of anything he’s involved with. The match overstayed its welcome and then finished on an odd note with an appearance by a new look Damien Priest, who appears to be Edge’s new apprentice. ***¼
Sheamus & Ridge Holland (w/ Butch) def. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
Steve: This match was cut from yesterday’s show. After seeing the match, I wonder why It needed to exist at all. This might have been the most nothing match on both shows. The New Day are at least 5 years past their sell by date, and are infinitely less interesting without Big E. I couldn’t tell you one thing that happened in this match. BUTCH though. *3/4
Joey: I’ve no words for what I just witnessed. The New Day, in Big E tribute attire, jobbed out in minutes. Kofi-Mania is dead, long live ButchaMania!!!!! *
Pat McAfee def. Austin Theory (w/ Vince McMahon)
Steve: My brother is planning to buy tickets and take me to Smackdown next month solely because of Pat McAfee. He has NEVER watched wrestling and chided me back in the day for watching it. This dude has a following. It also helps that he’s a huge fan and quite good at this. McAfee coming out to Seven Nation Army with the crowd chanting like a soccer crowd ruled. Vince is slowly morphing into Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Montgomery Burns lovechild. The match was all about showcasing McAfee, and it did a good job. This wasn’t near to the level of the Adam Cole match, but the crowd was all behind McAfee and hot as hell throughout. Good stuff. ***½
Joey: Pat, similar to his now lost match with Adam Cole, over delivered. I was infinitely more invested in this than the previous AJ v Edge bout. Pat is so effortlessly over, and despite his over exaggerated nature, he remains very likeable. He displayed great athleticism and did everything extremely well. Austin Theory was an ample dance partner and I enjoyed it thoroughly. ***1/2
Vince McMahon (w/ Austin Theory) def. Pat McAfee
Steve: McAfee’s win led to Vince showing off his parenting skills to Theory, then taking off his shirt to confront McAfee in the ring. Inexplicably, we are getting a match with octogenarian Vince McMahon. There was a lots of grunting and flexing, Theory helped a lot from behind and outside, and Vince McMahon pinned McAfee in a classic….pffffhhahahaha. N/R
During the celebration, the glass broke, and Vince’s smile turned upside down, and the crowd came unglued. Theory sold a stunner the Scott Hall approved of from above, and Austin crumbled Vince into dust with a kick and stunner. This whole thing was a setup to A) allow Vince to take his shirt off to show off his physique, and B) to get Austin and McMahon together, which makes you wonder, why not skip all the BS and get to the point?
Joey: Nothing else mattered here except that Stunner to Vince. Yes, Pat McAfee played a blinder in the lead up, but I can’t get over Vince. The set up, the stumble, the sell, Austin wetting his pants in laughter. What the fuck did I witness.
The stunner sells from Pat and Theory were also fairly comical, but I can’t stop laughing at Vince crumbling to dust. I’m going to hell for laughing at a 75 year old man falling down in a hilarious fashion. I enjoyed all of this and it’s clear that Brock vs Roman 53 will struggle to follow that compelling piece of art. ****
— Italo Santana (@BulletClubIta) April 4, 2022
WWE Championship & WWE Universal Championship Unification Match: Brock Lesnar © vs. Roman Reigns © (w/ Paul Heyman)
Steve: There are going to be people that love this and will put 4.5 on it or something. There was so much wrong with this. It was plodding and low impact. The total opposite of the big bomb sprints I’m into. Then we had to get Heyman involved. Then we had to get a ref bump in. Then Roman did that weird reverse tickle spear. Then Heyman did the cringey Tribal Chief stuff. Just so cringey. Roman is the worst top guy this company has had since Diesel. Acknowledge that. **1/2
Joey: The usual Brock v Roman match. Barricade spot, finisher spams and multiple germans, as well as a ref bump and a few F5s. BINGO! Nothing interesting whatsoever. Completely lazy booking with zero drama. Just another match and Roman’s long stale main event run continues. **
Steve: If Saturday’s showed us that there might be hope for the Fed to return to glory yet, Sunday Mania Electric Boogaloo didn’t quite kill that hope, but tempered it significantly. The opener was quite action packed and hot. Knoxville and his crew turned the wrestling ring into a Jackass episode, and the McAfee matches and segments were a roller coaster in and of itself. But the rest of the show was unremarkable and will not be remembered at all. People love Roman and this gimmick for some reason and I just don’t get it. His matches are mostly slogs and the character stuff is literally begging you to acknowledge him. I couldn’t care less. There’s a lot of reasons why this company’s popularity is on a steady decline, one of which is Roman being on top. Maybe there’s a light in the future, but from my view, it’s quite dim and will likely be pitch black by summer.
Joey: I enjoyed yesterday’s show a great deal more. I did enjoy tonight’s show, but mostly for all the wrong reasons. Very little great wrestling apart from the opener maybe. I enjoyed the nonsense of Zayn v Knoxville and everything about the Vince clusterfuck special but little else. The writing is firmly on the wall for Kofi and Sasha Banks that they are not stars. Edge and AJ underwhelmed and the main event was a predictable affair with nothing that we haven’t seen from these two headliners before. A poor showing overall but worth a watch for everything involving Vince McMahon.