I don’t write about the WWE often but Wrestlemania only comes around once a year so I thought I might as well. I love following WWE. I don’t watch it every week but I keep up with it and watch most of the pay-per-views. This has been something I have watched since I was in elementary school so I can’t shake the nostalgia for sports entertainment (even if my nostalgia only goes back like 13 years). I decided to combine my love of WWE and my love of writing and rank all of the matches from the two-day Wrestlemania 38 from my least favorite to most enjoyable.
14. New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs Sheamus and Ridge Holland
Originally we thought this match was cut from the festivities entirely since it was supposed to go down on night one. WWE was able to slip it into night two which is great for the competitors but not great for us fans. This match was incredibly short, which may not have been the original plan, and there wasn’t much to it. New Day losing while honoring Big E with their attire was also a weird call. If Kingston and Woods won I would have probably moved this up at least one spot.
13. Bobby Lashley vs Omos
This was not the hoss-fight that WWE wanted it to be. Omos just isn’t polished enough as a performer to wrestle a good match at this point. He’s got potential but is still super green between the ropes. WWE also made another weird call here by giving Lashley the win. This bout had less than one week of build behind it so it didn’t really seem like the moment to give Omos a loss like that. If this leads to Lashley getting another bug push it might be worth it but the biggest result from this match is the detriment it has done to Omos.
12. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs
It seems unfair to even rank this match at all because of an unfortunate injury to Boogs (who was on fire in the bout). It seemed in real-time like an abrupt ending when the Usos got the victory and it turned out to be the case. After Boogs went down holding his knee after attempting to lift up both Usos on his shoulders, it was clear the match was not going as originally planned. This could have been Nakamura and Boogs’s moment but we will never know.
11. Carmella and Queen Zelina vs Sasha Banks and Naomi vs Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan vs Natalya and Shayna Baszler
I am extremely happy with the result, Banks and Naomi are both long overdue for a big win at Wrestlemania. But other than the result there wasn’t much to like from this match. There were some big spots but overall it felt a bit clunky between the ropes. I don’t like the tag matches where each team isn’t represented in the ring at once because it makes the action hard to follow at times. Tracking each tag can get confusing and sometimes it seems like WWE doesn’t even care about it because wrestlers are going in and out of the ring with no reason.
10. Sami Zayn vs Johnny Knoxville
This was exactly what it was always going to be. The Anything Goes stipulation was always going to lead to some crazy shenanigans in the ring. It felt like a Jackass segment but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Knoxville took a great bump through the leaning table so he was clearly giving this match his all. Zayn sold his ass off and eventually took the loss to Knoxville and his crew. The ending definitely didn’t go as planned with the giant mousetrap not really working right but other than that they aren’t really a lot of complaints.
9. Drew McIntyre vs Happy Corbin
This match really shouldn’t have been as good as it was but both competitors gave it their all. I fully expected this to be one of the worst fights of the event so I was pleasantly surprised. The build to these two guys wrestling was way too long and repetitive but the in-ring action was fun. McIntyre clearing the ropes with a suicide dive was awesome and him becoming the first person to kick out of Corbin’s End of Days finisher was an unexpected moment. Kudos to both guys for making this match better than it had any right to be.
8. The Mysterios (Rey and Dominik) vs The Miz and Logan Paul
Speaking of matches that shouldn’t have been as good as they actually were, this match was surprisingly amazing. Paul showed a lot of talent in the ring to go along with his incredible ability to garner heat. He was getting booed like crazy from the crowd and played into it so well. Him hitting the Three Amigos made me gasp and doing Eddie Guerrero’s shimmy on the top rope was even more dastardly. The Miz and both Mysterios also deserve a ton of credit for carrying a large portion of the match. Dom and Rey looked like they had a blast teaming together on wrestling’s biggest stage and they showed out with some really impressive moves. Unfortunately, they didn’t get the win but Miz dropping Paul with a Skull Crushing Finale after the match got a huge cheer from the crowd. I can’t wait to see more Paul in the WWE.
7. Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar
I really wanted this battle of behemoths to live up to the hype but I knew it couldn’t really happen. Lesnar is just too limited in the ring to have a match that is technically pleasing. This ended up being exactly what we thought it would be. Both guys hit hard and landed some finishers. Reigns driving Lesnar through the barricade was probably the best moment. Lesnar turning Reigns’s spear attempt into a kimura lock was as close to a real wrestling match as we got. The electricity during the entrances was palpable and the introductions were probably the best part of the main event. We got the outcome we wanted (or at least the one I wanted) as Reigns is now set up to dominate the WWE even more going forward.
6. Pat McAfee vs Austin Theory (and Vince McMahon)
McAfee absolutely showed out in this match. The athleticism that he showed was so much fun to watch. His backflip off the top rope was awe-inspiring and then he followed it up by leaping back up onto the top rope and delivering a huge superplex to Theory. It was also really funny watching McAfee do commentary while banging his opponent’s head off the announce table. Theory played the quintessential heel and did it really well. The impromptu match between McAfee and Mr. McMahon that came after was a bit odd but the crowd was super into it so I get it. McMahon shouldn’t have won the match, but he did so that happened. Stone Cold Steve Austin coming out to drink beer and give everyone a stunner was awesome but might end up overshadowing how well McAfee performed.
5. Charlotte Flair vs Ronda Rousey
Leading up to this match was a story about two badass women wanting to beat the crap out of each other. Rousey looked really good for how long she has been away from the ring and Flair was impeccable as always. Once they started telling the story of wearing down their opponents and looking for submissions this fight got much better. Rousey essentially got the win but the ref was knocked out so Flair ended up actually winning after a big boot to Rousey’s face. The finish was questionable. Most of the buildup was surrounding the dangerous submissions both women have so for it to end by pinfall was a bit weird. I also think Rousey should have left with the title but this could be WWE’s way of extending the feud. If Rousey doesn’t end up eventually winning the belt then this will look even worse in hindsight.
4. Edge vs AJ Styles
It felt like this match took a little while to get going but once it did it was really fun. This was very much a psychological bout which is not necessarily for everyone. I’m not really sure this lived up to the “dream match” hype that it got but I could see them absolutely tearing the house down in the future. Later in the match, we got the big spots that we were waiting for. The superplex to the ring apron looked super painful and Edge catching a flying Styles with a spear was a moment worthy of the big stage. Damian Priest showing up and distracting Styles right before the finish was confusing for a little until it was revealed that he and Edge look like they will be working together in the future.
3. RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle) vs Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) vs Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis)
When you put this many talented individuals in one ring together it is almost guaranteed to be a fun time. This was exactly that, with the three teams going at it in a fast-paced and chaotic bout. Every team got their turn to shine and it seemed like anyone could win at any point. Ford showed off his incredible athleticism as always with a great leap from the ring to ringside and a mesmerizing top rope blockbuster. The highlight of the match was the team of Orton and Riddle, though. Orton’s hot tags are still one of the best things in the WWE and seeing him and Riddley hit moves and taunts simultaneously is always fun. Riddle’s top rope RKO on Ford was the best move of the night and Orton’s RKO to a flying Gable was picture perfect like usual.
2. Becky Lynch vs Bianca Belair
This match started out with some very measured chain wrestling and reversals and morphed into an absolute slugfest. The callback to the Summer Slam match at the start with another feigned handshake from Lynch was very cool and for a second they really had the fans thinking she would steal another quick win. Fortunately, Belair was able to kick out and what followed was a fantastic fight. The Manhandle slam to Belair on the ring steps looked super painful as was the legit flying heel kick to the face from Lynch. Belair overcame a lot to eventually get her win back from Lynch and drop her with the KOD and capture the Raw Women’s Championship. Also, adding in the fact that this match had the best entrances of the night made this bout exactly as special as it deserved to be.
1B. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Kevin Owens
This really wasn’t a match but oh boy was it fun. It took a long-winded talk show to get to it but watching Austin deliver another ass-kicking was worth it. The crowd ate up every second of everything Austin did, from driving around the ring on his ATV to stomping Owens in the corner and giving him the double birds. When Owens hit a suplex to Austin on the freaking concrete my jaw dropped. This was the first time I have ever watched Stone Cold wrestle live and it was so much better than I could have ever expected. Owens was unselfishly selling for Austin all over the place and even got to hit a stunner on the guy who popularized the move. This eventually ended with Austin delivering a stunner and getting the win (which was never in doubt) and then drinking beer all over the ring. This was everything that this needed to be and more and gave Austin a final in-ring WWE moment that he can remember forever.
1A. Seth Rollins vs Cody Rhodes
The best match from Wrestlemania for me was the one where we only knew one of the contestants going into it. Even though the WWE universe knew the mystery opponent would be Rhodes, it was still an iconic moment when he entered the stadium. Seeing a performer like the American Nightmare come back to WWE is a Mania moment by itself but the match that preceded it was even better. I think Rollins and Rhodes tore the house down with a great match filled with incredible storytelling. Despite literally no build between the two wrestlers, both guys were acting like this was the biggest match of their lives. The back-and-forth was perfect, and the big spots were insane. The suplex from the ring to the floor was something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before and the inverted suplex from the top rope that Rollins hit on Rhodes was amazing. In the end, this match was all about the return of Rhodes and seeing him hit some of his trademark moves was a welcome sight. He ended it with two Cross Rhodes followed by a tribute to his late father with a Bionic Elbow and a third Cross Rhodes to put Rollins down for good.