Wrestlemania 38 Night Two Review

The second part of the two-night Wrestlemania took place, with the heavily-promoted Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns at the top of the card. I wouldn’t have thought this prior to this weekend, but night one might out shine night two, depending on what you look for with a Wrestlemania event.

Night two kicked off with the Raw Tag Team title match and while these teams have delivered some of the most consistently entertaining segments on television, they delivered with a payoff at Wrestlemania as well. This bout was all action and showcased everyone very well. Randy Orton and Riddle retained, which makes sense with their current popularity, a statement about how talented they both are as performers, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Alpha Academy gets a run with the belts relatively soon. Chad Gable is such an entertaining heel and so skilled in the ring. The pairing with Gable has allowed Otis to have the best run of his career, and as heels, they add some much needed heat to the tag team division. Overall, this was a great way to kickoff the broadcast. Gable Steveson had a post-match spot with Chad Gable, and it works as a good introduction to the WWE audience on a big stage, but hopefully, WWE brass doesn’t rush him to television because he’s undoubtedly a talented athlete with a marketable background, but you can’t assume he’s going to be the next Kurt Angle as far as a transition to the pro wrestling just because of the Olympic gold medal win. There’s a fine like to walk with someone such as Steveson since he can’t work the preliminary matches for years to get experience because that doesn’t fully utilize his status as a gold medal winner, but at the same time, you can’t book him to big a top star before he’s ready because it would expose his inexperience. One thing is for sure, it will be very interesting to see how he’s booked to start his WWE career and how he develops as a sports entertainer.

Bobby Lashley beat Omos in about five minutes for what you might call a cement mixer match. Don’t get me wrong, Lashley did about as much as he could do here and this was probably the best match that Omos is capable of having at this stage. Similar to how you walk the line of how to effective use a commodity like Gable Steveson early on, how you book a giant like Omos can be a balancing act. You want to protect the aura of the giant, but at the same time, the guy has to have full-matches if there’s going to be any longevity to his career. The problem is, and this isn’t meant to be sarcastic at all, if someone is over the 7 foot mark, there can be some mobility problems, simply because the person is so tall. Omos does have some of the rigidness in the ring so I’m not sure how versatile he will be during matches. That being said, management might be done with the Omos experiment since Lashley got the victory. If the office had any meaningful plans for Omos, they would’ve booked him to get a dominate win over the former champion. Instead, this short-term feud looks like more of a way to reestablish Lashley as one of the top stars on Raw more than anything else, which might be the smart move because Roman Reigns will need fresh opponents.

Johnny Knoxville beat Sami Zayn in an over-the-top no DQ match and it was a segment where both of them put in the effort, which is why the presentation worked. Sure, it was all smoke and mirrors, but you knew there would be a lot of gimmicks involved when it was announced. One way or the other, this was pure entertainment and it was particularly a statement about how much talent Zayn has as a performer. Johnny Knoxville got the win, and Wee Man now has the most famous body slam in Wrestlemania history.

The four-way women’s tag title match was fine, but nothing necessarily spectacular, and that’s more of a statement about the format than the ability of any of the athletes. I mean how many classic four-way tag team matches can you immediately think of? The contest went about ten minutes, and the segment looked like just a way to shoehorn more wrestlers on the card. Sasha Banks and Naomi won the belts, a decision that is very wise for the women’s division. It should go without saying that the female roster has a lot of talent and it seems like the past few years have seen the division mostly revolve around either Charlotte or Ronda is some form or fashion for the biggest stages. Still, Sasha and Naomi have the talent to be on those major states as well so hopefully their championship win can put a new coat of paint on the rest of the women’s division outside of the Raw or Smackdown Women’s title picture.

AJ Styles vs. Edge was probably the longest match on the show and it was fine, but for some reason I found this match to be a little underwhelming. Perhaps, it’s the fact that the audience sat through several hours of wrestling the previous day, but for a bout given this much time, the crowd wasn’t necessarily invested in the result. If I had to guess, it’s probably because of the random and lukewarm build up in a relatively short period of time that there’s just wasn’t enough substance to the angle to justify an extended match on a Wrestlemania card. Edge got the pin, but I’m not sure this did anything to get his new heel persona over with the audience.

Speaking of the amount of time given to a match, The New Day vs. Sheamus and Ridge Holland was given literally no time during night one since it was cut from the card when other segments ran long during the broadcast. Sheamus and Holland won in about a minute or so for what was only a way to get the match on Wrestlemania without taking time away from anything else. There’s not much to say about the actual match, but if it got these guys a WM payoff then good for them.

Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory was a very entertaining segment. It underscores the potential that Austin Theory has if the writing team doesn’t book him to look like a dork in the next few months. That being said, and this isn’t meant as a knock against him, I don’t know if McAfee would get the same type of reaction if he was an in-ring competitor on a regular basis. That’s more to let his in-ring appearances stand out and to keep it a special event type of presentation when he’s in the ring. This bout had the action and the crowd was into everything. While Pat beat Austin Theory, he was eventually defeated by the emperor of sports entertainment, Vince McMahon, who amazingly still looks like he takes Icopro and lifts weight at the age of 76. Of course, this set up for a Stone Cold cameo after his main event match the prior night. Just after Austin Theory took one of the best stunners in history, Vince took one of the worst stunners in the history of the business. However, the crowd went crazy for one more stunner on the boss and it was one of the highlights of the show, which is what’s important for a successful segment.

While the moment was worth it, the Vince/McAfee/Stone Cold segment of stunners and beer and more beer, this is where the show started to drag the momentum of the card. The post-match shenanigans as a stand alone moment is great, but the extended time periods between the bell-to-bell action with the ridiculous amount of commercials and hype packages after several hours of wrestling can be a very tedious viewing experience.

It’s disappointing for me to have to say this, but I thought the main event was very underwhelming. This was a decent match, but it’s the same match as far as the structure that you’ve seen on pay-per-view several times before. It was the Paul Heyman formula of a fire works match based on a series of big moves. It’s “been there, done that” with Lesnar vs. Reigns matches. Granted, you could say this is the Brock/Roman match, but I just don’t think there was anything even outside of the style that made this a Wrestlemania main event. Roman got the win to be the temporary unified champion, but there are already rumors that there will still be a second world championship on television, which makes the main event match rather pointless. Either way, it was another entertaining show and it’s interesting that the argument could be made that night one was the better pay-per-view for the company.

What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.

Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

E mail drwrestlingallpro@yahoo.com | You can follow me on Twitter @jimlamotta