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TJR WWE WrestleMania 38 (Saturday Only) Preview

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WrestleMania 38 is a two-night event for the third straight year with part one taking place on Saturday, April 2 and part two on Sunday, April 3.

John: We are doing two separate preview posts for this year’s two night WrestleMania event. This one is all about the Saturday night lineup in Dallas with seven matches advertised along with the KO Show talk show segment with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, which could be the main event of Night One based on what Owens said on this past Monday’s Raw. I don’t think it’s the strongest WrestleMania lineup by any means, but I like a lot of what WWE is presenting on Saturday and you can read about that as we dive into this preview.

Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling writers Lance Augustine, Joel McIntyre, Alex Podgorski, Matthew Fowler, Marc Madison and Kelly Dishnow. Here’s Alex followed by Marc.

Alex: For the past several months, WWE has been repeating the word ‘stupendous’ to describe this year’s WrestleMania. I think that WWE will deliver on that front when it comes to pageantry and presentation; after all, few companies, if any, can match them on that front. But will this be a memorable show? It’s hard to say. I can’t say I can remember a WrestleMania that was truly shocking since The Undertaker’s Streak ended, and none of the matches on this night’s card will likely match that event in terms of magnitude. But that’s the key; none of the matches will match that WrestleMania 30 shock. There is one non-wrestling segment booked that I just can’t wait to see…and I hope my prediction about it comes true.

Marc: It’s WrestleMania weekend; you know what that means? If you guessed it’s WrestleMania, then you right, and I’m not good at telling jokes. But what it also means is that over the course of two nights, fans will get a little bit of everything. Whoever it is that is supposed to face Seth on night one and the Styles/Edge match on night two are the two that I’m most looking forward to. But I want to be surprised. I want to walk away from enjoying the show, and I don’t want to feel disappointed because, honestly, there is enough to be disappointed with, and roughly 8 hours of wrestling over two nights can either feel like a waste of time or the best of times. So let’s hope for the best of times!

(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)

 

The New Day – Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods vs. Sheamus & Ridge Holland (w/Butch)

Lance: This feud picked up some steam recently, with a returning Xavier Woods getting on Raw over Ridge Holland. Pete Dunne recently joined forces with Sheamus & Holland, albeit with an awful name change. I want to care about this match more than I do. I will give the babyfaces a win here.

Winners: The New Day

Joel: This was supposed to be the trio of the New Day against Ridge Holland, Sheamus, and Butch. Unfortunately, due to Big E’s scary neck injury, it is just a tag match. I feel for Butch but it is what it is. I think the New Day wins here. It’ll be a good match because of the talent involved. I just think the New Day deserves better. I’m still looking forward to the match.

Winners: The New Day

Alex: This match is likely to either be on the pre-show to give people settling in early something to watch or will open the show. Either way, these four will be thrown out there to give fans the token ‘hot opener’. They should have no problem delivering on that front; The New Day have had solid matches many times over the years. I’m hoping that Sheamus & Holland can get up to the New Day’s level and put on a solid match to start things off. I expect the match to go twelve-minute max and will have a straightforward structure. Sheamus & Holland will isolate one of their opponents to build heat, only to suffer from the other opponent’s comeback off a hot tag. That said, this match is for Sheamus & Holland to win. The New Day gains nothing here whereas Sheamus and Holland still have their master-student storyline going on. Lastly, Butch will be there for his side. I don’t see the point of bringing him down to the ring if he’s not going to get involved.

Winners: Sheamus & Ridge Holland (w/Butch)

Matthew: This match was originally supposed to be a six-man tag match, before the unfortunate injury of Big E. Honestly, this match feels like a basic Smackdown match, and not something that is at WrestleMania level. I have no doubt that the in-ring work will be solid, but I don’t expect anything memorable to come out of it. I predict that Big E will make an appearance with his New Day teammates, and then celebrate with them after they win.

Winner: The New Day

Marc: What is a tag team match now could have been a six-man tag? As fans know, an injury to Big E left a hole in the booking of this matchup. With the inclusion of ‘Butch,’ fans saw the former Pete Dunne join Sheamus and Ridge Holland, forming a triad. Sadly, we won’t see the talented Butch in action as he’s relegated to more of a cornerman or an accompanied partner on the side of Holland and Sheamus.

We are assured he’ll play a factor in this match and likely will be THE factor that helps his team win. This is a hard match to preview as the injury to Big E hangs over the head of all involved. While they say the show must go on, it’s hard not to feel for someone as beloved as Big E is and know he was as close to paralysis as he was. That said, the energy of Kingston and Woods will be great to see, but it may not be enough.

Winners: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

Kelly: I’m guessing this was supposed to be a six-man tag before Big E got hurt. Given the circumstances, I’m going to peg this as a win for the New Day. If it was a six-man tag, I probably would have picked Sheamus and Friends.

Winners – New Day

John: It’s too bad that it’s not a six-man tag team match due to Big E’s neck injury. I still think they could have pivoted to make it a six-man tag team match by having Ricochet save New Day from a 3 on 2 attack and put Ricochet in the match. Ricochet is defending the Intercontinental Title on Smackdown, but he’s also a big omission from the WrestleMania card. Anyway, it really could go either way in terms of who wins the match. I could see WWE wanting to put over Holland in his WM debut match and having Butch interfere for his team, so I’m going with the heel team led by Sheamus.

Winners: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

 

wwe wrestlemania 38 2022 drew mcintyre happy corbin

Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin (w/Madcap Moss)

Lance: I am hoping that this concludes this part of McIntyre’s career and he can be taken as a serious championship contender again. Corbin and Madcap Moss have been pretty bad on TV as of late and I can only hope this is short and to the point. If the plan is to move McIntyre back up the card, there is no way he loses here.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Joel: I love both talents, but I could care less about this feud. It should’ve ended at Day 1. Drew McIntyre is probably the next in line for a shot at the Universal Title so obviously, I think he is going to take the win here. The match should be good but hopefully this is the end of the rivalry.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Alex: This match could really use a stipulation. McIntyre has been involved with Corbin and his flunky Moss for several months now and every major interaction between them seems repetitive. This match would’ve been better if it was a cage match or something; but since it’s not, we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got. And what we’ve got is something underwhelming. I just don’t care about Corbin at all, no matter what sort of silly gimmicks he comes up with. As for McIntyre, he’s starting to turn into a pseudo-Randy Orton in terms of being less exciting as time goes on. By no means will this be bad; instead, it’ll be bland. It likely won’t go more than ten minutes and will be the same sort of McIntyre or Corbin match you’ve seen before. The only way I see this being interesting in any way is if Corbin wins by way of his apparently-never-kicked-out-of End of Days finisher. But even if that doesn’t happen, I hope that this feud ends at WrestleMania.

Winner: Happy Corbin

Matthew: Has anyone been misused more than Drew McIntyre this year? Last year at this time McIntyre was an established main eventer and world champion. Now he is stuck in a match with Happy Corbin, which quite frankly most of the crowd will use to take a bathroom break and buy some souvenirs. McIntyre should win this match, and then hopefully be put into a meaningful feud after WrestleMania.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Marc: No disrespect to Happy Corbin, but Drew McIntyre is as far removed from the WWE Title as he could possibly get here. McIntyre’s feud with Corbin has been a little underwhelming. It feels like it’s all based around Drew’s sword. First, it’s stolen, then it’s returned, then it has a name. It’s just odd. Unless a dual was planned, I’m unsure why this match is enticing me to want to watch.

All the power to both of these guys for trying to make something out of this feud but there really isn’t anything about this build that is capturing my interest. Both guys are tremendous athletes, so hopefully, that is enough to keep me interesting in watching.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

Kelly: This is a no doubter here. I’m hoping it is either a Raw Three Minute Special or a Two Minute Smackdown, but it’ll probably go five minutes or so.

Winner – Drew McIntyre

John: Drew McIntyre is the top babyface male wrestler on Smackdown as long as you don’t count Brock Lesnar, who is allowed to be on both shows. I think after WrestleMania, Drew is going to get back into the main event picture sooner or later. Considering WWE has two stadium shows in July and September (in Wales – Drew is from Scotland, which is also part of the UK), they really need Drew to be a top guy again. He should not be losing matches. It’s been four months for this storyline. Enough already. Corbin will get some offense and some help from Madcap Moss, but this is a win for Drew.

Winner: Drew McIntyre

 

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz & Logan Paul

Lance: I don’t think there is a soul on earth that cares less about Logan Paul than yours truly. The fact that he is in a match here is whatever, but at least it’s a tag team match. It’s really cool that Mysterio gets to form a tag team with his son, but Dominik has moments where he looks very green. I think he has a lot of talent, but he could use some more seasoning as a performer. I think this match ends with the Mysterio’s winning and embarrassing The Miz and Logan Paul in some fashion.

Winners: Rey & Dominik Mysterio

Joel: The Miz seems to be the guy with the celebrity involvement every year. This year I think Logan Paul might surprise some people. I don’t think he will be as good as Bad Bunny was last year, but I think he will surprise some people. Since Miz took Rey’s mask, I’m going with The Mysterios here. If the plan is for Paul to stick around, I can see him and Miz taking it but I’m going with my gut for now and saying The Mysterios.

Winners: The Mysterios

Alex: This match is a bit hard to predict because it can actually go several ways. Does WWE book Paul to win for his team to avenge what happened to him last year? Do both Mysterios beat the crap out of him because he’s a trained boxer entering a wrestling ring? Does Miz rip off Rey’s mask again to leave Dominik alone two-on-one? Personally, I’m going with that last option. Miz is at his best when he’s doing outwardly obnoxious acts, and what’s more obnoxious than ripping off a luchador’s sacred mask? I honestly think this is the match in which Dominik really needs to make a lasting impact. He was hyped up as a big deal but since debuting he has been very much in his father’s shadow. If he really wants to make an impact, it’s best to do so against one of the safest wrestlers in WWE (Miz) and a guy that knows how to get it (Paul) if something goes wrong.

I have a few doubts this prediction will fully come true, but it’d be nice if WWE actually tried something that fits what few long-term storylines are in place.

Winners: Rey & Dominik Mysterio (with Dominik spending most of the match wrestling alone and his dad coming in at the end)

Matthew: Is it right that neither Finn Balor nor Ricochet has a match at WrestleMania, but Logan Paul does? Of course not, but also should not shock anyone who has been a fan of the WWE for any number of years. As for the match, I am sure it will be fine and Paul will do a decent job. Predicting who will win this one is actually hard, but I think Vince is going to want to make the fans happy. Therefore, I will go with the Mysterio’s getting the win and pinning Paul.

Winners: Rey and Dominik Mysterio

Marc: At the best of times, Logan Paul is easy to dislike. However, those reasons are very different from why we dislike most wrestlers. For The Miz, he’s conveyed a character that has managed to get so much heat that it’s impossible to ignore. Fans have seen the Mysterio’s being made fools of, and it could very well be all pointing to a night where the father/son tandem get their revenge. But, if his recent fights are any indication, Logan Paul has shown he has conditioning behind him.

Does he have wrestling conditioning and timing down? That’s a different story. Thankfully for Paul, he’s surrounded by true professionals in The Miz and Rey Mysterio. Unfortunately, there can only be so many times that Rey is embarrassed. Tonight, the Mysterio’s settle the score, and Paul and The Miz implode!

Winners: Rey and Dominik Mysterio

Kelly: I think this might be Rey’s last WrestleMania match. The way the booking has gone, Miz and Paul should lose but we have a celebrity in this equation. I still don’t think that it matters because if Miz and Paul win, where does it go from here? A rematch at WrestleMania Backlash with the Mysterios getting the win back? Paul does not seem to be liked so I think the fans would be happy to see him get beat up.

Winners – The Mysterios

John: The feud has been okay. I give them credit for giving this storyline some consistent TV time over the last two months with Paul looking like he belongs in WWE. I don’t really follow anything in Paul’s career, but you can tell he’s an athletic guy with a bit of a personality, so that helps. They have known about the match for nearly two months, which makes me think that they have probably practiced the match a bunch and that Paul is going to do pretty well in the ring.

I think Rey & Dominik will win and Dominik will pin Miz. Maybe we’ll see Miz get mad at Paul after the match, which could lead to Paul knocking Miz on his ass to pop the crowd.

Winners: Rey & Dominik Mysterio

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura

Lance: The Usos have had a career resurgence being aligned with Roman Reigns and the three of them have been at the top of the company for some time. I think they are a great team that has proven to be great performers in the ring. It’s hard for me to see them taking the titles off of the Usos, but then again, Boogs and Nakamura have been gaining some momentum lately. I’ll go with The Usos retaining, but it’s close.

Winners and STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions: The Usos

Joel: I like that they’re giving new tag teams a shot instead of just running back New Day and The Usos. I’m just not feeling the current story. It feels too rushed and Boogs and Shinsuke haven’t done enough to come across as legitimate contenders. The match should be decent. I know the Usos will lose eventually. They’re not going to be champions for as long as Roman is. I just don’t think this will be that time.

Winners: The Usos

Alex: I’m a bit conflicted on this one. The logical prediction would be for the Usos to continue their historic reign and remain dominant. And yet, I’ve long been a fan of Nakamura, even if his booking in WWE has been disappointing. Plus, there’s not much of a story here so WWE might book a title change to both give the challengers their WrestleMania moments and satisfy their desires for the almighty swerve. In this case, I think the titles will change hands in a 15-minute competitive match. Personally, I’d want to see Nakamura smash both Usos’ faces in with Kinshasa knee strikes to really send a message. He has been underutilized for a long time and I think he and Boogs could be entertaining as the new champions. It’s a crapshoot prediction, but then again, that’s what it’s like with most non-main-event storylines these days.

Winners and NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions: Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura

Matthew: The Usos have been dominant since capturing the Smackdown Tag Team Championships last July at Money in the Bank. As for Boogs and Nakamura, they are a fun team but do not feel like they are at The Uso’s level. The Uso’s have been champions for over 250 days, and are probably due for a loss. Boogs and Nakamura do not feel like the team to do it. I predict the Uso’s to be victorious here in a good match.

Winner: The Usos

Marc: What happens when you lose the Intercontinental Championship? You contend for the tag team championship, of course. It’s an unusual matchup in that the tandem of Boogs and Nakamura are the least likely of threats for the title. Despite their presence being felt this past week on Raw, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re heading towards a win. There doesn’t feel like there is enough substance behind Nakamura and Boogs to consider them a legitimate threat for the championship.

Reigns could play a role in this matchup with Roman and Brock competing on night two. However, regardless of whether it’s by pinfall or they’re disqualified, it’s hard to think that the Uso’s won’t retain.

Winners: AND STILL, Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Usos

Kelly: This is going to be an interesting match with main event foreshadowing implications. I think The Usos are running out of mileage with their tag team title run and a change is needed. If the Usos were to lose, would that also mean that Roman will lose and The Bloodline walks out with no gold? If the Usos win, does that mean Roman will win to keep the gold in the family? Another issue with an Uso win, who’s next? I doubt Sheamus and Friends are next in line. Would there be an MSK call up? Even a short title reign for Nakamura and Boogs would help break things up a little bit.

Winners – Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs (new champs)

John: The entrance of Nakamura with Boogs at WrestleMania should be cool. The Usos have been champions since last summer and I think it’s going to continue. What WWE should do is really build up a babyface team to take the titles off them. In this instance, Nakamura/Boogs simply got a title shot after The Usos attacked them and then Boogs won a singles match. It’s really not a great build at all, but I guess it’s better than some matches. A title change is possible for sure. I just think The Usos are going to keep the titles for at least a few more months.

Winners: The Usos

 

Raw Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair

Lance: It’s odd to have both Women’s Title matches on the same night, but I guess they didn’t want it to take any shine off of Lesnar vs. Reigns. Either way, this should be a really good match. Belair has been tearing it up since her call-up and has a Royal Rumble victory as well as headlining a WrestleMania on her resume. Lynch is doing some of her best work right now as well and this seems like a “right time, right place” kind of match. I could see Lynch retaining, but ultimately, I think Belair dethrones her.

Winner and NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Joel: This is one of my most anticipated matches on either day. This has gone all the way back to Summerslam. This is probably the best built story of Wrestlemania. The story calls for Bianca Belair to win the Raw Women’s Title. Becky Lynch’s run of dominance started at Wrestlemania 35. I think it ends appropriately at Wrestlemania 38. There’s always a chance Becky could win, but I’m thinking Bianca gets her revenge here. It’s the right story to tell. It’s the only story to tell. Don’t screw it up, WWE.

Winner/NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Alex: This one is the most predictable yet it’s also the most logical. Belair won last year, got humiliated at SummerSlam, and now she’s getting her revenge. Plus, following this past week’s RAW, Lynch will be extra furious after Belair cut some of her hair. This will be significantly more intense than Belair’s title match from last year. That said, I still expect a few things to be thematically off here. They will still ‘wrestle’, even though this should be an intense and no-nonsense brawl. There will be lots of stuff that won’t make sense (such as Belair doing her power moves instead of being focused and wanting to tear Lynch apart). I’m not saying either of these women will be in the wrong; it’s just that WWE management enforces such rigid homogeneity in the actual matches that nothing will really matter until the bell rings to signal the end. Belair will still win, and hopefully she’ll actually get a chance to shine as a star this time around.

Winner and NEW RAW Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Matthew: This match could easily main event this show, and is one of the matches I am most looking forward to this weekend. This feud has been brewing since Lynch shockingly defeated Belair in seconds this past August at SummerSlam. WWE has done a good of keeping these two’s feud going since then, with Lynch always finding a way to defeat Belair. Belair added even more heat to the feud this past Monday on Raw, when she cut off some of Lynch’s hair. I expect both of these women to have an outstanding match, with Belair finally getting the win over Lynch.

Winner: Bianca Belair

Marc: This feud reached a fever pitch after the go-home edition of Raw. Fans witnessed Becky Lynch say, ‘she was coming for Belair’s hair.’ The fear (I use that term loosely) was that Belair would have lost her hair after Becky pulled out a pair of sheers. Belair was able to fight Lynch off and hit not one but two KODs on the champion. So, with a motionless Lynch lying on the mat, Belair gave the champ a haircut. My wife thought she did a decent job giving her layers and all. Well, for the most part. I don’t have hair, so I’m jealous she actually had hair to cut. We aren’t sure what the stakes will be now after the title is on the line. Will hair be at stake too? This could be Belair’s time. Fans were upset that she lost the title last year, and while Becky has been on a roll, Bianca may be what fans are clamoring for.

Winner: AND NEW Raw Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair

Kelly: History has shown that this is going to be a really good match. Likely going to be the best Women’s match for the two nights. With this going to be so great, could there be any problems? Yes, WWE has done their typical booking themselves into a corner. If Becky retains, I think that will totally kill off the Bianca character. For as good as Becky is, I doubt she can carry the title for another year into the biggest money match possible with Ronda Rousey at next year’s WrestleMania. Bianca has to win to get the Becky monkey off her back to renew her feud with a returning Bayley. With the title off Becky, she can start the build towards her Ronda match next year.

Winner – Bianca Belair (new champ)

John: It’s time for a new champion. I like Becky, but it’s just time. There’s the long-term story of Becky beating Bianca at SummerSlam in 26 seconds. That was the Smackdown Women’s Title, now it’s the Raw Women’s Title and for the first time in a long time, Belair has a singles match for the title. It was a few months ago when Belair was going to have a shot at the title, but Becky screwed her out of the win and Doudrop got a title shot at Royal Rumble instead.

To WWE’s credit, it is more than just a challenger going for a champion. They have tried to make it more of a personal feud by having Lynch injure Belair’s throat and then the dreaded haircut that Belair gave Lynch on Raw this past Monday. If it’s not Belair, then who or when? This just seems like the right time. Plus, it also builds up Belair as a dominant performer at WrestleMania since she won the Smackdown Women’s Title from Sasha Banks in the Saturday main event last year and she can win the Raw Women’s Title this year.

Winner AND NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair

Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. ????? (An opponent of Mr. McMahon’s choosing)

Lance: Ahh yes, the worst kept secret in the history of the wrestling business. Cody Rhodes will most likely be the opponent for Rollins here and they will end up having a solid match if I had to guess. Both guys are fantastic workers and this will be the first time we will have seen them lock horns in a long time. I am assuming that if it is Rhodes, he will be pushed to the moon after this show. If it could be anyone else, I would say they might throw us a curveball and this will be the Gabe Steveson debut. Either way, Rollins can afford a loss and probably wanted to be involved in this angle because of the potential atmosphere that may occur. I will say this if it is Rhodes or Steveson, they definitely go over. If it ends up being someone else, Rollins will win. It’ll be Rhodes though.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Joel: I think what we will have here is like SummerSlam last year with Bianca Belair. When she needed an opponent to fill in for Sasha Banks, Carmella initially came out. Then just as they were about to square off, Becky Lynch’s music hit and she made her return to defeat Bianca. I think we might see something similar here. Vince McMahon will introduce Seth Rollins to a random opponent, whether it be Shane McMahon or somebody else. Seth will then beat that person in relatively quick fashion. Then, just as he’s celebrating, Cody Rhodes music will hit and he will come out to challenge Seth. I just can’t see Vince, in storyline, choosing Cody Rhodes. So that’s what I think happens.

I think the match will be great and probably the match of the night on night one. If it is Cody, he has to go over here. You can’t bring him back to lose. I don’t think they will.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Alex: This is going to be similar to what happened with John Cena and the Undertaker at WrestleMania 34. Rollins will come out all smiles for having a WrestleMania match. But he’ll cut a promo saying it’s unfair that he got his match but wasn’t able to prepare for his opponent since he doesn’t know who it is. Then Vince will come out and announce his opponent formally, at which point some new music will play and it’ll be Cody Rhodes making his return. Rollins will have an over-the-top shocked look on his face (as will several fans the camera will pan to) and Michael Cole will deliver his most over-the-top-yet-somehow-also-deadpan ‘OH MY’ as Rhodes comes down to the ring. Rhodes will then squash Rollins in about three minutes and have a big win while Rollins is left staring at the lights wondering why he bothered getting up so early to see Vince and putting on such a tacky suit. This will lead to a long feud over the next few PPVs and Cody becoming a regular in WWE’s upper midcard.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Matthew: In one of the worst kept secrets in the history of wrestling, Seth Rollins will face a “mystery opponent.” Any wrestling fans who have not been living under a rock for the last month assume that Cody Rhodes will be Seth’s opponent. I expect that is exactly what will happen, with the Dallas crowd popping loudly for the returning Rhodes. As for the winner, I don’t think Cody left AEW to lose his first match back. Rhodes and Rollins will have a very good match, with Rhodes picking up the victory.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Marc: With the weeks leading up to this match being that Seth has had to fight to get an opportunity to compete on the WrestleMania card, it’s been revealed that he will, in fact, have a match. This past Monday, Rollins had a ‘meeting’ with Vince McMahon, who said all he had to do was ask for a match. That’s it, eh? Poor Finn Balor had to win a United States Championship and not be considered. If all he had to do was ask, I guess he’d have been booked differently, too! I’m kidding.

Probably. Regardless, the elephant in the room is that Rollins is facing a returning Cody Rhodes. If it is, and even the speculation around it is being treated like a big deal, that’s great. It’s great for the Rhodes family and all the best for him for making himself become more of an asset and value than ever before. With that said, a returning Cody Rhodes means a winning Cody Rhodes. The running joke has been he returns and rebuilds a throne. That would be funny, unnecessary, but funny.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Kelly: I think WWE might troll the fans here and have some jobber come out first, only to get beat up by Cody Rhodes and Cody becomes Seth’s opponent instead. Yes, that’s the same thing Becky did last year at SummerSlam when she returned. Hopefully, the match lasts longer than 27 seconds. The match will be great and should be given sufficient time. As for the winner, I think that person would be one of the first in line for a World Championship match from the Raw brand soon. I’m going with Cody since he is returning. If it is somebody other than Cody, Seth will win.

Winner – Cody Rhodes

John: At the last two WrestleManias, Seth Rollins lost matches to guys that were a level below him that needed to beat Rollins in order to be perceived as a bigger star. Last year it was Cesaro (I miss him) and in 2020 it was Kevin Owens. This year it is Cody Rhodes, who is going to come into WWE hotter than ever with a lot of momentum and a crowd that is strongly behind him. If it’s not Cody, I’ll be very surprised. I truly believe that it is him. I trust what PWInsider reported that Cody signed several weeks ago. I think Cody is about to have the best run of his career. I’m happy for him. I will also say that it’s possible WWE does the trolling thing by having somebody else come out to face Rollins before Cody and then Cody comes out after. It would be hilarious to see them bring out Shane McMahon or anybody else just to piss fans off for a few minutes before Cody’s entrance. Speaking of the entrance, they better let Cody use the “Kingdom” song. It’s great.

Anyway, I think this will be a great match that is given 15-20 minutes with a lot of back and forth action. A lot of what we see from Cody will be stuff we saw in AEW although maybe not the Cody Cutter springboard move since WWE doesn’t love people doing that move since it’s the RKO. Rollins will probably do an amazing job of selling the Cross Rhodes finisher too. I’m looking forward to this Cody return as much as anything at WrestleMania.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

 

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

Lance: Rousey has been a little shakier than when she first came on the scene a couple of years ago, and this will be the test to see how far she has come in the ring. Charlotte Flair is at the top of the mountain of Women’s wrestling and may go down as the best to ever do it when it’s all said and done. Regardless of any ring rust, Flair will control this and carry them to a good match. I am hoping that Rousey finds her footing here and starts to show the same fire and confidence we have seen from her. I do think she goes over here, but these two will meet again.

Winner and NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey

Joel: I wasn’t and still am not a fan of Ronda being in this spot but it is what it is. The match will be good but I just have not liked the story leading up to it. It seems tailor made for Ronda to win but I have a feeling a swerve is coming. They know Ronda is sticking around so I have a feeling that Charlotte wins here and Ronda takes it at Backlash. I don’t see the crowd reacting favorably to this match.

Winner/STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair

Alex: The story here is simple: Rousey won the Royal Rumble last eliminating Flair. Flair could’ve had her choice of opponent for WrestleMania, but that was stolen from her so now she’ll want revenge. But Flair’s up against a major threat in Rousey, who has been training more or less nonstop for this match with the intention of making Flair tap out. On the other hand, Flair has been protected heavily and is often presented as this historically-great women’s wrestler (laughs in zenjo). As such, I predict this will be a very close and competitive match. Neither woman will have the clear advantage. This will probably go around twenty minutes and will have lots of close near-falls. But in the end, the match will end with Rousey somehow countering a Figure-4 leglock into an ankle lock (in keeping with the training she has done with Shayna Baszler of late). I just hope that Rousey sticks around consistently after winning the title this time and actually does something meaningful as champion.

Winner and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey

Matthew: This match was the presumptive main event of Night One, before a certain Texas Rattlesnake decided to make his return. Honestly, it is probably a good thing that this match is not going on last, as the build for it has fallen flat for me. As for the actual match, I am sure it will be fine but will be limited by Rousey’s capabilities. I do expect a title change here as well, as Rousey is the bigger star and can have more high-profile matches for the WWE in the future.

Winner: Ronda Rousey

Marc: Charlotte has long been the face of either Raw or SmackDown. Whether fans like her or not, it’s impossible to ignore her athleticism. Her moveset, contributions, and matches are about as certain as anything in the women’s division. After a two-year absence, Ronda Rousey returns, only this time she returns with her sights set on Flair and the Smackdown Women’s title.

This incarnation of Ronda has abandoned the Rowdy moniker and come to the ring prepared to beat some a**. From her gear to her presentation, Rousey has needed these things to be seen as a threat to Charlotte Flair. But, if the plan is to move forward and make Rousey the champion, then this night is the best time to do it.

Winner: AND NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey

Kelly: I suspect that this was going to be Night One’s main event until Austin agreed to appear. We’ve seen this match before and this time it should get a clean ending. Rousey should tap Flair out here to carry the Smackdown Women’s Championship into WrestleMania 39 for the only money match she has left in her with Becky Lynch. With this being at WrestleMania, there will be a big moment and that will be Flair tapping out for the first time ever. The chatter was Fox wanted her on Smackdown, so why not put her in the spotlight as champion? This is almost another no doubter.

Winner – Ronda Rousey (new champ)

John: I think another women’s title change is coming. I’m surprised that WWE booked Charlotte/Ronda and Becky/Bianca on the same night of WrestleMania. I figured those two matches would be on separate nights, but for whatever reason, WWE decided to put them on the same day. I’m fine with either of those matches in the WrestleMania main vent too, but I think putting Steve Austin’s segment on last is the right choice.

Ronda Rousey earned this title match as the Royal Rumble winner. They have tried to make it a personal feud with Flair getting in some cheap attacks on Rousey in a parking lot and also using a kendo stick around the ringside area. The idea seems to be that Flair seems to have Rousey’s number and can overpower her while Rousey is pushing the idea that can use more than an armbar because she has made Flair tap out to the Ankle Lock in the past as well. I think this will be a hard hitting, physical match. I’m going with the Rousey win even though I think she isn’t great at being a babyface. Hopefully they don’t give Rousey a year-long run with the title before she faces Becky Lynch at WrestleMania next year. I think that would get boring. For now, I’m going with a Rousey win. I just don’t see her losing very often in WWE.

Winner AND NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey

KO Show – Hosted by Kevin Owens with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Lance: This is really what most fans are looking forward to. Austin is the biggest star the business has ever seen and probably ever will again. He did a pre-tape where he cut a promo on Owens and I felt like it was 1998 all over again. I am assuming that part of the deal of Owens re-signing with the company was an interaction with Austin at WrestleMania. As far as what this interaction will be, I am not sure, but I know that Austin will get the biggest pop out of anyone on both nights. He truly is one of the biggest stars of all time. I know I will get chills when that glass breaks like I always have. If there is a match that happens to break out, Austin will win, but I think he comes out on top no matter what this may turn into.

Joel: It may not be listed as a match, but I think it is going to be more than just a kick and a stunner. Austin has turned down so many match opportunities over the years that if he agreed to this, it means he has plans to do more than the usual. I’m happy for Kevin. I’m sure that he loves this spot to be main eventing Wrestlemania with somebody he grew up idolizing. Steve looks in great shape, so I have high hopes for this match. I think it will be a great way to send the fans home happy.

Alex: I must be the only person on the planet that wants to see Kevin Owens stand tall over Steve Austin once this is all over. Yes, Steve Austin is the biggest wrestling superstar ever. But what does he – and by extension, the fans, and WWE – gain from Austin getting one over Owens? A nostalgia pop? Those happen all the time and have been largely rendered meaningless. A beer bash? Again, those have happened so many times over the decades that they’re not special. Austin gains nothing by beating up Owens (which is the most likely conclusion here), while Owens would gain the world if he beat Austin up.

Imagine the sight of Owens blocking a Stunner and then hitting one of his own on Austin (which should happen anyway; Owens said Austin’s his favorite wrestler and he watched Austin religiously as a child; of course he’d know how Austin acts and talks, so he should know what to expect, no matter how star-struck he might be sharing a ring with his childhood idol).

If WrestleMania ended with Owens standing tall over Austin, fans might pelt the ring with garbage in anger; people would be taking for months, if not longer. It would be like when Hogan joined the Outsiders and created the NWO. It would be a monumental moment for Owens and it would be a bigger career achievement for him than anything and everything else he has done to date. But if the opposite comes true and Austin has yet another celebration (or even a two-minute squash match), what happens then? There will be a few news articles and reaction videos posted online for a week and then everyone outside WWE will forget that this ever happened. This in turn will damage Owens badly; I mean, what would it say about him as a professional in his prime when he gets demolished and humiliated by a 57-year-old retiree that hasn’t wrestled in almost two full decades?

Booking Austin to go over here would be too easy and too cheap with only short-term gain. If they cared at all about making money consistently and long-term, Owens should beat Austin up (safely, mind you) and leave the Texas fans furious. After all, if they were OK with Reigns being a heat magnet during his first major push, why wouldn’t they be OK with it here?

Result of the segment (and possible match): Kevin Owens stands tall

Matthew: When it was first rumored that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was coming out of retirement to face Kevin Owens, I like most people was excited. That, unfortunately, has not happened however, with us getting a talk show segment instead of an official match. Obviously, there will still be physicality between Owens and Austin, with the two men likely having a lengthy brawl. How that brawl ends is probably the easiest prediction in the history of WrestleMania. If WrestleMania 38 Night One does not end with Austin stunning Owens and then drinking some beers, then I will be shocked.

Marc: The more we see this feud develop, the more it’s hard not to like it. We have distinct roles, a noted heel and a hall of fame face. With the idea that it won’t be a match and simply an interview that will likely be physical and word coming out that Austin is in great shape and prepping for the match, why can’t there be one? Yes, the argument of him taking a spot will not sit well with hardcore fans.

But with it being in Texas, with Austin’s opportunity to excite fans again is something people are paying to see, why not? Since no match has been announced for the following night, we can anticipate something physical to take place. Who walks out, and who doesn’t? Predicably it would be Austin. But if it leads to a match the following night? It could be Owens.

Kelly: I think the promo duel will be fantastic between these two. Owens will likely run his mouth until Austin has enough and opens a can of whoop ass on Owens. Austin will get the upper hand and close the show out with a beer bash to send the fans home super happy. It has to end that way otherwise why else are they going on last? We might get a short 30 second or so “match” out of it, but Austin will be celebrating with a beer bash as the cameras fade to black. It should be really great.

John: I love that this is happening. Austin is beloved by WWE fans as much as anybody in the history of the company and seeing him back in his home state of Texas will be a thrill for the fans in attendance. Austin is also one of my favorite wrestlers ever. I’m excited about it. I’m also pumped for Kevin Owens, who grew up as a huge fan of Austin and has talked many times about Austin being a huge influence on his career. Austin gave KO some advice many years ago to “just keep talking” and Owens has done just that.

I don’t expect a match. I do expect some physicality with Austin taking a few bumps, but then I think they will brawl around ringside a bit with Austin throwing Owens into some objects. We know Owens loves to take big bumps and I’m sure he’ll be glad to do some big spots in a main event slot at WrestleMania. Owens will go for his Stunner, Austin will avoid it, hit is own Stunner and maybe more of them. Austin will celebrate with a beer bath and the show will end on a happy note with the Dallas crowd cheering the whole time. Happy ending to WrestleMania 38 night one. OH HELL YEAH~!

 

Here’s the WrestleMania set reveal.

BONUS TOPICS! (For WrestleMania Saturday ONLY~!)

The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Lance: Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens in a match or whatever they are doing.

Joel: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.

Alex: Owens vs. Austin.

Matthew: Lynch vs. Belair.

Marc: Seth Rollins/Cody Rhodes

Kelly: Lynch/Belair.

John: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins although it was a tough choice with Owens/Austin taking place. I’m genuinely excited about it.

 

The Match I Care About The Least

Lance: The Mysterios vs. The Miz & Logan Paul.

Joel: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin.

Alex: New Day vs. Sheamus & Holland.

Matthew: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin.

Marc: The Miz/Paul vs Mysterios.

Kelly: McIntyre/Corbin.

John: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin. Drew is one of my favorites in WWE. I just don’t care about this feud at all anymore.

Longest Match

Lance: Smackdown Women’s Title Match – Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey.

Joel: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.

Alex: Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey (~20 minutes).

Matthew: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.

Marc: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.

Kelly: Lynch/Belair.

John: I think Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair going about 20 minutes.

 

Shortest Match

Lance: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin.

Joel: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin.

Alex: Seth Rollins vs. Cody Rhodes (~3 minutes).

Matthew: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin.

Marc: Usos vs. Boogs/Nakamura.

Kelly: McIntyre/Corbin.

John: Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin. Keep it under ten minutes.

Summary on WrestleMania Saturday Lineup Only

Lance: I think the lineup is strong on Saturday with two Women’s Title Matches, Cody Rhodes impending debut, and of course, Steve Austin coming back. I know I am personally more excited for Saturday than Sunday, but both shows have the potential to be good.

Joel: I like this lineup a little better than Sunday. Becky/Bianca, Rhodes/Rollins, and Austin/Owens are the parts I’m looking forward to the most. It should be a great night with some intrigue. We’ll see how it goes.

Alex: This show will be above average, but nothing close to 10 out of 10 by any means. I don’t expect any world-class grappling matches here; in fact, most of the action will be largely inconsequential. All that will matter here are the end results and whether Austin ends up getting the upper hand or not. The real quality wrestling is likely to happen on night two.

Matthew: Saturday’s lineup is a mixed bag, with some matches I am excited for, and others that just fall flat for me. I expect some great moments like Cody returning as well as Austin doing his thing. I also expect a few good matches that may reach the four star level. I actually feel that there are more things to be excited about on night one, but night two will have the better wrestling.

Marc: Between the two shows night one feels underrated in some regards. Lots of quality matches with surprises happening too. Surprizes appear to be all the rage for this night so it’s a great way to have both shows start off. The two women’s championship matches should also get the crowd excited as well.

Kelly: There is a really good mix of matches here with both shows having a strong card. I think Sunday will be a bit more solid, though.

John: It’s a pretty good lineup. The two Women’s Title matches on the same night is a bit surprising to me, but I think they will both be good and I think Rollins/Cody might be the best match of the night. Ending with Austin/Owens is a smart move that’s going to pop the crowd in a big way. The fans are going to love it.

In Closing

John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE WrestleMania 38 Saturday on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night, so check that out live or any time after it’s over.

You can also tweet me @johnreport, Joel is @GiftedMoney, Kelly is @ciscowebwiz76, Matthew is @fowlerwrestlin1, Marc is @TheMarcMadison, Alex is not on twitter and Lance is @Collectiveheel with any comments as well.

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com as well. Thanks for reading.