The spectacle of WrestleMania will be fully on display as the 38th edition of WWE’s marquee event takes place this weekend.
Wrestlemania descending on Dallas this weekend
AT&T Stadium, the home of the Cowboys, will host WrestleMania 38 this Saturday and Sunday. It’s the third consecutive year that WrestleMania has been a two-night event.
With much of the card built around big returns and celebrity involvement, there’s no doubt that WrestleMania 38 will deliver the type of headline-making “WrestleMania moments” that the show has become known for. WrestleMania has been a pop culture extravaganza since its inception, but it’s important that there’s also substance to go along with the over-the-top spectacle. While the build for the undercard has been inconsistent, the main event matches at WrestleMania 38 feel worthy of their spots on the biggest show of the year.
Night 1 of WrestleMania 38 will feature at least one major return—while a second also seems destined to happen. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin will be back at WrestleMania for a confrontation with Kevin Owens on The KO Show. Seth Rollins will face an opponent of Vince McMahon’s choosing, with all signs pointing to it being former AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes.
Wrestlemania 38 headlined by wrestler returns
There’s no question as to what the ending of Austin and Owens’s confrontation will be. After Owens has insulted Austin and Texas leading into WrestleMania, Austin standing up for his home state, giving Owens a stunner and celebrating in the ring is assured. But it remains to be seen if Austin vs. Owens will just be a brawl or something more. If it does end up becoming an official match, it would be the first time the 57-year-old Austin has wrestled in nearly two decades.
Weeks of Rollins trying and failing to find a path to WrestleMania led to the announcement that he’ll be facing an opponent handpicked by McMahon. The identity of Rollins’s opponent won’t be revealed until he’s introduced on Saturday.
Rhodes returning to WWE has felt inevitable since he announced in February that he was departing AEW. The Rhodes that exists in 2022 is a completely different performer than the one who left WWE in ’16. His career has been rejuvenated in those six years, and Rhodes is now someone who can be a top-level star in WWE if given the chance. Signing one of AEW’s founding fathers is a huge opportunity for WWE. Treating Rhodes like the star that he is would send the message to other AEW wrestlers that coming over to WWE is a viable option when they become free agents.
Night one will see two women championship matches
Both of WWE’s top women’s titles will be on the line on the first night of WrestleMania 38, with Charlotte Flair defending the SmackDown women’s championship against Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch defending her Raw women’s championship against Bianca Belair. Social media and celebrity boxing star Logan Paul’s in-ring debut will also be part of the show. He’s teaming with The Miz against Rey and Dominik Mysterio.
Night 1 of WrestleMania will stream live on Peacock/WWE Network starting at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. There will also be a two-hour pre-show before the main card.
Here’s a full rundown of the lineup, along with predictions for each match:
The KO Show with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
There’s nothing else on the WrestleMania Night 1 card that fans will care about more than Austin appearing. Even if it’s just a talk show segment that ends with Austin giving Owens a stunner, it will meet everyone’s expectations.
Still, a confrontation main-eventing WrestleMania just doesn’t feel right. If Austin is up for it, the bell should ring and they should have some kind of a match. It would make the moment even more special if the referee counts to three after Austin stuns Owens. He may not be capable of being the Austin of the Attitude Era anymore, but a few minutes of Austin vs. Owens would still be great.
It’s especially cool to see Owens involved in such a high-profile segment with one of the biggest legends in pro wrestling history. Owens is consistently one of the most entertaining performers in WWE.
Prediction: Austin pins Owens
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown women’s championship
Rousey’s second run in WWE hasn’t quite clicked yet. When she made her return at the Royal Rumble in January, Rousey being a heel and renewing her rivalry with Lynch is what the audience wanted. Instead, we’ve gotten babyface Rousey feuding with Flair. Rousey is capable of making it work in either role, but the best version of her would be embracing her heel side and not caring what the fans think anymore.
Having a great match with Flair would go a long way in getting things back on track. Rousey will still be a regular with WWE after WrestleMania and is a lock to become the next SmackDown women’s champion.
Prediction: Rousey wins
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair for the Raw women’s championship
Getting this match at WrestleMania is the best justification for Rousey vs. Lynch not happening yet. Belair has needed to get revenge on Lynch since her 26-second loss at SummerSlam last year, and there’s no better spot for it to happen.
Lynch vs. Belair is a strong candidate for match of the night on Saturday. Belair fully cemented herself as a superstar by defeating Sasha Banks at WrestleMania last year. She’ll reach greater heights with a win against Lynch.
Prediction: Belair wins
Seth Rollins vs. an opponent of McMahon’s choosing
Assuming that Cody Rhodes is Rollins’ opponent, there’s no way that WWE can reintroduce him with a loss. After how much he’s improved over the last six years, Rhodes will be as motivated as possible to make his WWE return match a success. A win will set the stage for his first promo back in WWE on Raw or SmackDown, which might be even more anticipated than the match.
Time will tell whether leaving AEW was a smart decision for Rhodes, but his willingness to take risks is something to be admired. He had a secure spot in AEW as both a wrestler and an executive. In WWE, he’ll attempt to prove that he’s now the main eventer that WWE didn’t see him as during his first stint with the company.
The Mysterios vs. The Miz and Paul
Paul walks a fine line between being someone you love to hate and being someone you just don’t like. He’s appearing at his second straight WrestleMania this year. At last year’s show, Paul took a stunner from Owens.
Miz called on Paul to help him take on the father-son duo of the Mysterios. Celebrities usually win their matches when they appear in WWE, but the best outcome here would be the legendary Rey Mysterio and his son Dominik defeating Miz and Paul.
Prediction: The Mysterios win
Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin
As much as this is a step down from where McIntyre should be, WWE has done a good job of building anticipation for McIntyre finally getting his hands on Baron Corbin. Once that happens, this needs to be a quick and dominant win for McIntyre.
Prediction: McIntyre wins
The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs for the SmackDown tag team titles
The result of this match may give an indication for how Night 2 of WrestleMania 38 is going to go. The Usos and their cousin Roman Reigns enter WrestleMania as champions. Reigns is putting his universal championship on the line against WWE champion Brock Lesnar in a title unification match in the main event of Night 2.
If the story coming out of WrestleMania is going to be Reigns continuing his dominance, it would make sense for The Usos to retain their titles, too. If he’s going to lose to Lesnar, it would make sense for The Usos to drop their titles.
Nakamura and Boogs are a likable team, but there shouldn’t be any cracks in The Bloodline heading into Sunday.
Prediction: The Usos retain
New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. Sheamus and Ridge Holland
This was likely originally planned to be a six-man tag team match but had to be changed due to Big E suffering a broken neck. With Big E out of action, Pete Dunne (now going by the name Butch) will be in Sheamus and Holland’s corner instead of wrestling in the match.
New Day winning on Big E’s behalf would make for a feel-good moment early in Saturday’s card.
Prediction: New Day win
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