WrestleMania 38 Postscript

After a 19 year absence, Stone Cold Steve Austin returned to the ring at WrestleMania 38 against Kevin Owens

I must move past my complaints about the WrestleMania two-night paradigm because it appears to be permanent. But when WrestleMania spans two nights for a total of 16 matches, there is a lot to unpack. First and foremost, as a whole WrestleMania was very enjoyable. Most of the matches were exciting and there were many unexpected moments.

In isolation, however, Saturday night was the better of the two. In fact, if WrestleMania 38 was just what was given to us on Saturday night, I would have been perfectly satisfied. It was full of great matches that were capped by a surprise main event match featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin that re-wrote the history of his career and legacy.

Sunday night was a good show, even if things were a little strange at times. The Gable Steveson segment was a bit awkward and made him look very green. The New Day match was unusually short. The Pat McAfee bonus match with Mr. McMahon was another awkward segment that did not do either one of them any favors. The main event between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar ran a little short for a champion versus champion match.

These are minor criticisms. A show this large would be impossible to make perfect. Not every wrestler is the best and not every match can draw five stars from the critics.

To look at it through a different lens, I offer a list of WrestleMania winners and losers every year. This year, there are far more winners than there are losers.

Losers

  • Rick Boogs: The show got off to a rough start when Boogs suffered a devastating leg injury in the first match. Things were looking good for the upstart wrestler, but now he is facing surgery and a lengthy rehab.
  • Otis: The big man has a lot of potential but got lost in the shuffle in his six-man tag team match.
  • Omos: Having him lose at WrestleMania is not a great way to build a monster heel of his size.
  • The New Day: As I mentioned, their match was so short it was a throw-away. Time to move on from this gimmick.
  • Mr. McMahon: He should know how to sell a Stunner by now!

Winners

  • The Usos: Their career began with them constantly being overlooked at WrestleMania. Now they are the top tag team in the WWE and made a strong statement by winning the opening match.
  • Drew McIntyre: He got to cut the ring ropes with a sword. Cool!
  • Logan Paul: I had no expectations for his wrestling ability given that as far as I could tell, he had never worked a match in front of a crowd. I was blown away with how well he performed. He carried himself like a veteran. He was smooth, paced himself well, and his mechanics were solid. He should sign a full-time contract.
  • Cody Rhodes: Jim Ross always says that when a wrestler leaves a promotion, it is usually because of one of “the two c’s: cash or creative”. Rhodes left the WWE for AEW for the latter but returned for the former. And while he was cashing in, he orchestrated himself a great WrestleMania moment with his win over Seth Rollins.
  • Kevin Owens: The big man from Marieville, Quebec was in a WrestleMania main event match against Stone Cold Steve Austin. Enough said!
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin: He looked a little slow, but it did not matter. His connection to the audience is as strong as it has ever been. He often said he did not want to return because he did not think he was physically capable of performing at a high level. But he proved himself wrong and found a way to make his match work.
  • Steve Austin Fans: If you ever chanted “ONE MORE MATCH” at Steve over the last 19 years, you finally got your wish!
  • Triple H: He got the send-off he deserves with one last WrestleMania moment.
  • Gable Steveson: The Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion was spotlighted two nights in a row. I only hope for his sake that this sake he doesn’t get slapped with the “he’s being forced down our throats” label.
  • Randy Orton: What a pop for that hot tag!
  • Pat McAfee: He might not look like a wrestler, but he can sure work like one. He even got to call his own match on commentary. He should be on cloud nine all week after the weekend he had.
  • Austin Theory: Hey Mr. McMahon, you can learn a thing or two from your protégé about how to sell a Stunner!
  • Roman Reigns: I started this blog primarily so I could rant about how much I could not stand to see Reigns in the WrestleMania main event year after year. But since he took WrestleMania 36 off and returned as The Tribal Chief, he has been the top performer in the world. I have done a complete about-face about Roman. It is about time I finally say it: I acknowledge Roman Reigns!

Raw is beginning as I am finishing this post. I look forward to seeing where things go from here. Hey look, Veer is going to make his Raw debut tonight…

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