Roman Reigns-Brock Lesnar deliver flat end to an overall fun WrestleMania 38

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Brock Lesnar puts a submission hold on Roman Reigns. WWE

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WWE found its WrestleMania sweet-spot.

While Night 2 of WrestleMania 38 featured a lot more sports entertainment than the superb and often surreal first act on Saturday, it was still an overall positive weekend for WWE at AT&T Stadium. Sunday had its flaws, including an injury-shortened main event, but it was loads of fun anyway. Here are the highlights from Night 2 of WrestleMania 2022 that featured solid matches, great celebrity outings and a Mr. McMahon-sized touch of nostalgia:

Rare Miss

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Seemingly everything Roman Reigns has done has turned to gold during his 600-plus days as Universal champion. His moment of ascending to undisputed champion in WWE will not be one of them — but an injury could be partly to blame. It appeared Reigns may have dislocated his shoulder in the process of beating WWE champion Brock Lesnar in what was billed as the “biggest WrestleMania match of all-time.”

brock lesnar, pat mcafee, pro wrestling, roman reigns, stone cold steve austin, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, wwe

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Roman Reigns got the win in the main event of WrestleMania.

WWE

The injury appeared to happen as Lesnar had Reigns in a kimura lock. The Universal champion got to the ropes, but Lesnar continued to move Reigns’ arm up and down while still in the hold. WWE’s mics picked up Reigns telling Paul Heyman that his shoulder was “out” and the match went home right after that. Reign’s countered an F5 attempt into a spear to end his story with Lesnar and become WWE’s first sole world champion since the brand split in 2016. Will it become one belt or remain two with Reigns appearing on both shows will soon be revealed.

The abrupt finished ended a match that featured a lot of what we have seen from the two before — multiple finishers and signature moves delivered, a broken barricade, a ref bump and the title being used as a weapon. Little about it felt special — let along main event of WrestleMania special. Lesnar could go away for while and Reigns, if healthy, will move on to likely Drew McIntyre or Bobby Lashley — or both — next.

One More Chapter — but at whose expense?

brock lesnar, pat mcafee, pro wrestling, roman reigns, stone cold steve austin, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, wwe

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Vince McMahon.

richfreeda

In the biggest “stunner” of WrestleMania weekend, we got an impromptu Vince McMahon match against Pat McAfee and it gave us one more moment between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Mr. Mahon. But did the night’s biggest dose of nostalgia and shock come at the expense of Austin Theory, who McMahon introduced as a future world champion?

He lost clean and was completely outshined in the scheduled match by McAfee, who countered Theory’s finisher into a rollup for the win. The crowd lost it for the McAfee victory. Then Theory was a footnote in the Austin-McMahon story — through he did an incredible pop-up sell job on a Stunner from the Texas Rattlesnake. One thing Theory has going for him is he has a high-level of heat that was palpable from the crowd.

McAfee, who continues to be just an amazing hire for WWE, is a natural in the ring, pulling off a superplex and a hurricanrana. He then got too cocky and egged on Mr. McMahon, who is in incredible shape, into a fight.

The 76-year-old took his time taking off his suit and tie to get the crowd into a will-he-won’t-he spot. An attack on McAfee from behind by Theory opened the door for McMahon to have his way with the former Colts punter. The boss, who got his first WrestleMania win in his first match since 2012, kicking a football into McAfee’s ribs do him in.

Vince McMahon botched the Stunner so hard that Stone Cold couldn't help but laugh. What a moment. pic.twitter.com/oXRUgm4M7j

— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) April 4, 2022

McMahon and Theory’s smug celebration was interrupted by Austin. Stone Cold would get both McMahon and later McAfee to share a beer with him before delivering Stunners to both. McMahon’s may have been the most awkward in history as he just crumpled to the ground.

Hilarious Hardcore

1. Hogan slamming Andre
2. WeeMan slamming Zayn
3. Luger slamming Yokozuna

In that order #WrestleMania pic.twitter.com/7RnSSu8Bj5

— Rasslin’ (@rasslin) April 4, 2022

Leave it to WWE to book an “anything goes” match and have a genuinely humorous hardcore match break out between Sami Zayn and ‘Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville. Zayn – like friend Kevin Owens from Night 1 – should be commended for building the story around the match and selling his butt off during it. This didn’t have a ton of actual wrestling, but it had everything else. “Jackass” co-stars Wee Man and Party Boy (who did strip to his thong) both go involved.

The weapons – in true “Jackass fashion – went beyond garbage cans, cookie sheets and STOP signs. There was a bowling ball, a giant hand that slapped Zayn (who also got slammed by Wee Man) on the outside, a nut-shot machine with a boot on it and a giant mousetrap (that didn’t work properly). Knoxville, who did take an exploder suplex through a table and hit a tornado DDT, eventually got the mousetrap to close and trap Zayn for the pin. While this went a little long, the crowd was absolutely into it and Michael Cole and McAfee had so much fun calling this one that it was hard not to enjoy the spectacle

Brood 2.0

brock lesnar, pat mcafee, pro wrestling, roman reigns, stone cold steve austin, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, wwe

Edge and Damian Priest

WWE

A.J. Styles and Edge, as expected, delivered the best classic wrestling match centered around who could break the other’s will. Edge recently turned heel, changing his music, look and demeanor to a more Brood-like presentation. His WrestleMania entrance included him coming up in a black chair surrounded by fire and black-and-purple ring gear that appeared to be a nod to The Undertaker.

He defeated Styles thanks to the Phenomenal One being distracted by an appearance by Damien Priest, sporting the same purple as Edge. It delayed Styles enough from jumping off the top rope that Edge was able to deliver a mid-air spear. When the match was over, Edge and Priest stood in the ring together, apparently beginning to form the heel faction that had been rumored.

There actually is a hint of long-term booking here as Edge shook Priest’s hand after his main roster debut last February. It will be intriguing to see who else gets added (Tomaso Ciampa from NXT might be fun) and how WWE makes it feel different from AEW’s House of Black. The loss makes it seem like Styles will be back for more.\

Friends Forever

brock lesnar, pat mcafee, pro wrestling, roman reigns, stone cold steve austin, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, wwe

Riddle delivers an RKO to Montez Ford.

WWE

At this rate, who knows when and if RK-Bro will get broken up? Unless the Raw after Mania changes things, the team of Randy Orton and Riddle feels here to stay for a while after they retained the Raw tag team champions in a banger of an opening match against the Street Profits and Alpha Academy.

The finish was pretty spectacular. Riddle hit a springboard RKO on Montez Ford from the top rope and Orton followed that up by turning Chad Gable’s leap from the top into a catch RKO and a pin. The segment ended with two-time NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson joining a post-match celebration. It was broken up by Chad Gable, who got suplexed by Steveson. This could end up leading to Stevenson’s first feud when joins Raw soon.

Other matches

Bobby Lashley over Omos

Bobbly Lashley better be Roman Reigns’ next world-title challenger on Raw. Other than maybe WWE not wanting a more established star and recent world champion losing to a fresh face such as Omos, having the big man get beat didn’t make a ton of sense. WWE spent weeks of TV building Omos as an unbeatable powerhouse, only to beat him clean after an impressive suplex by Lashley, a spear to the giant’s kidneys and then a second spear before the pin. On the bright side, the 7-foot-3 Omos acquitted himself well in the contest. He showed plenty of agility and power. The WrestleMania stage and being in the ring with a two-time WWE champion wasn’t too big for him.

Sasha Banks and Naomi over Queen Zelina and Carmella (c), Natalya and Shayna Baszler, Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley.

brock lesnar, pat mcafee, pro wrestling, roman reigns, stone cold steve austin, vince mcmahon, wrestlemania, wwe

Sasha Banks and Naomi

WWE

Sasha Banks had never won a match at WrestleMania (0-6) until now as she and Naomi — the former B.A.D. members — claimed the women’s tag team titles. It is the first reign for Naomi and the third for Banks, who scored the pin to end a solid match. The question is now how many of these teams will stick together and who gets broken off to challenge new Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair. Unless someone like a Lacey Evans or Asuka return on Raw, Rhea Ripley makes a ton of sense for that role.

Sheamus and Ridge Holland over Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods

This match was originally supposed to happen Saturday, but was cut for time and didn’t get much time on Sunday either. Sheamus and Ridge Holland spent most of the short match trying to hold back Butch (Pete Dunne). Butch distracted the ref long enough for Sheamus, who was not the legal man, to hit Woods with a Brogue Kick. It gave Holland the opening to deliver his finisher and pick up the win. New Day paid homage to Big E, who Holland had a hand in legitimately injuring, with their ring gear.

Notes

Triple H, who announced last month that his in-ring career was over due to a heart issue, opened the show and left his boots in the ring to signal his official retirement.

Michael Cole had a really good night on commentary, his enthusiasm, surprise and humor added to a lot of moments — especially the McAfee-McMahon-Austin segment.

Biggest Winner: Roman Reigns

Biggest Loser: Austin Theory, Omos

Best Entrance: Edge

Best Match: Raw team tag championship triple-threat match

Predictions: 4-4 (10-5 overall)

Night 2 Grade: B

Combined: B+ (Night 1: A-)

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