The night of WrestleMania 38 kicked off the hype with an electric return of Cody Rhodes and Stone Cold Steve Austin, raising hopes for night two of WWE’s premiere event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The main event of the night – and the entire event – was the WWE Championship and Universal Championship winner-take-all match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. After each opponent struck each other, Reigns emerged victorious against Lesnar, earning him the status of the company’s top star.
Another pair of celebrities made their WrestleMania debut on Sunday. “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville won an incredibly entertaining anything match against Sami Zayn in a rivalry since the Royal Rumble in January. Former NFL punter and rising radio host Pat McPhee won against The Austin Theory, lost to Vince McMahon and then was stunned by Stone Cold Steve Austin in one of the best segments of the weekend.
Here are two of the biggest takeaways from night two of WrestleMania 38:
Roman Reigns established himself as the head of WWE
Time to accept the tribal chief.
Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar were billed as “the greatest WrestleMania match of all time”, each giving each other powerful blows from the start. Lesnar took every hit from Reigns and looked like he couldn’t take him down, but Reigns was able to land one final spear to knock Lesnar down and win by pinfall.
It was a relief to see that the match ended in a fair rather than interference and did not end in utter despair. Still, it was going to be difficult for this to become the biggest WrestleMania match of all time, and it was far from it.
Now, with Reigns ousting John Cena, Goldberg, Bobby Lashley and now Lesnar over the past year, it is difficult to see who can challenge Reigns for the title in the near future. But one thing is clear: Reigns is, and will be, the undisputed face of the company for a long time.
Pat McAfee does it ‘for the brand’ he has a WrestleMania moment
He has been an NFL punter, a radio host, and a WWE commentator. Now, Pat McPhee can call himself a WrestleMania legend after his win against The Austin Theory.
Preparations for the match were intense, and McAfee had all AT&T stadiums in his favor as the crowd chanted “Seven Nation Army” for much of the match. He showed that he’s trained for the moment, delivering suplexes off the top rope, doing backflips and the energy that WWE faces.
But that was not all.
McAfee challenges WWE CEO Vince McMahon to a match. The crowd could not believe McMahon had entered the ring, but match theory was plagued by interference, which allowed McMahon to throw a football at McAfee and easily obtain the pin. Even though it ended with a loss, McAfee showed that if he ever wanted to be a full-time talent, he certainly could do it.
Stone Cold beat Vince McMahon once again, McAfee got
Light may not strike twice, but the “Texas rattlesnake” certainly bites twice.
As McMahon and Theory celebrated the chairman’s victory over McAfee, the music of Stone Cold Steve Austin impressed the speakers at AT&T Stadium and the crowd grew. Austin clearly wasn’t done after beating Kevin Owens last night, as he emerged in the ring and dismissed Theory.
Historically, Austin gave McMahon a few beers to drink, only once again, hitting the president with a stone cold stunner—even though he could barely stand up—and sending the stadium into a frenzy.
That was not the end of it. Austin brought McAfee back in the ring to celebrate and do something the radio host has always wanted to do. The two shared beers, before facing McAfee’s fate, stunned Austin this weekend.
What a weekend for the Hall of Famers.
Sheamus and Ridge Holland win the dud match
The New Day (Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston) vs Sheamus and Ridge Holland on Saturday was moved to Sunday after a time crunch, but we were much better off if the match didn’t happen.
Woods and Kingston had geared up to pay tribute to Big E after breaking his neck in early March, but the match was barely anything to go by. Sheamus hit Woods with a brogue kick outside the ring, and Holland struck a northern grit on Woods shortly after the win. Butch attacked Woods afterward, but the whole thing was overwhelming, and the match was not needed at all.
Edge teases new faction
Edge and AJ Styles are two of the best at doing it, so it wasn’t surprising that they both put on a stellar performance.
Styles and Edge had one of the most technical matches of the two nights, with tons of submission moves and a clean pace. After hitting a Styles clash, Styles went on to rise for a phenomenal forearm, before United States Champion Damien Priest appeared at ringside. Priest managed to distract Styles for a long time as Edge hit Styles in mid-air and pinned Styles with a spear.
After the match, Edge and Priest shared a monstrous laugh and pose, indicating that the two would soon become a force in the tag team division.
Johnny Knoxville Chaotic Wins Anything Goes Match
It only makes sense for the star of “The Jackass” to appear in a WWE match like “The Jackass”.
To call the match between Johnny Knoxville and Sami Zayn strange is an understatement. We saw guest appearances from the We Man, the Party Boy, a boot to hit below the belt, a Taser, pyrotechnics, a bowling ball to the waist, a table full of mouse traps and a giant mouse trap.
With the help of his “Jackass” costar, Knoxville deploys giant mouse traps against Zayn before pinning him for the win. In fact the match was full of chaos with little wrestling. But after all it is for fun.
Sasha Banks gets her first WrestleMania win in the Tag Team Title match
When a deadly four-way tag-team match is underway, expect a lot of action to keep the flow of the match going.
With the women’s tag team title, all four teams involved hit a lot of signature moves with tag-team twists and the pace of the match changed in every way. In the end, the team of Sasha Banks and Naomi manage to give Carmella a face kick with a Banks statement to get the pin. It was also a long time coming for Banks, as it was his first WrestleMania win in seven tries.
The women’s tag team division hasn’t taken any direction in recent months, but having Naomi and Banks at the helm could revive it and help establish some real tag teams.
Bobby Lashley defeated The Omos in the Battle for Power
The match between Bobby Lashley and Omos was hailed as the two strongest stars on the roster, and that’s exactly what we got.
The match looked as though each star was trying to show their strength on each other, before Lashley hit Omos with a spear and knocked down Vishal and won.
It was far from impressive and lacked energy, but it was a match that needed to bring Lashley back into the swing of things and a potential character twist.
RK-Bro wins a wildly entertaining Triple Threat Tag-Team Match
WWE needed an exciting match to take the momentum of the night, and the Triple Threat match for the Raw Tag Team Championship was the perfect call.
The teams at RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle), Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis) and The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) are some of the company’s best figures, and the match allowed each other to have their moment. .
There was almost a fall throughout the match, but the fan-favorite pair of veteran Orton and fellow Riddle made a stellar end. Riddle used Orton’s signature RKO on the ford off the top rope, before Orton had another signature moment with the RKO on the gable as he took off from the top rope.
To add to the fun, Street Profits and RK-Bro celebrated with Olympic gold medalist and WWE roster member Gable Stevenson. Gable interrupted, only to receive a suplex from Stevenson.
Triple H says goodbye
A WWE icon and now an executive with the company, Triple H started the night with a loud entrance, enjoying every second as he made his way into the ring.
After the crowd chanted “Thank You Hunter”, Triple H took the mic to welcome the crowd to WrestleMania.
In a recent interview with Stephen A. Smith, Triple H told Smith that he was suffering from “bad” heart failure, wondering if he would survive. He also said that what happened meant the end of his wrestling career.
Triple H left his wrestling shoes in the middle of the ring when he left and hugged his family ringside, officially closing the chapter on his time wrestling.
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