Bianca Belair and the Real Winners and Losers from WWE WrestleMania 38 Night 1

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2022

Bianca Belair and the Real Winners and Losers from WWE WrestleMania 38 Night 1

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    There can't be a winner without a loser, and even at WrestleMania 38, that is true for the WWE Superstars on the card.

    Everyone heads into the biggest show of the year hoping to have their own 'Mania moment. Some etch their names in the history books with iconic matches that will be in video packages for decades to come, but others fall short of expectations.

    With the top two women's titles on the line, Seth Rollins set up for a "main event" match against Vince McMahon's handpicked mystery opponent, Logan Paul's in-ring debut and the return of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who stood out?

    Let's recap the winners and losers from Night 1 of WrestleMania 38.

Full Match Results

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    • The Usos defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
    • Drew McIntyre defeated Happy Corbin by pinfall.
    • The Miz and Logan Paul defeated Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio by pinfall.
    • Bianca Belair defeated Becky Lynch by pinfall to win the Raw Women's Championship.
    • Cody Rhodes defeated Seth Rollins by pinfall.
    • Charlotte Flair defeated Ronda Rousey by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship.
    • No Holds Barred match: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin defeated Kevin Owens by pinfall.

Losers: Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura

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    Credit: WWE

    The Usos have held the SmackDown Tag Team Championship for well over 250 days. Had Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura been able to take them down in the WrestleMania opener, that would have been a major moment and a career highlight for them.

    Instead, not only did they fail to win the titles, but Boogs also suffered an injury mid-match, tearing his quad.

    As his legs buckled, the hopes for the challengers were over. It was only a matter of time before the two-on-one scenario would be too much for Nakamura, and he ate a pinfall after the 1D.

    This wasn't the way anyone wanted 'Mania to start. Getting injured is bad enough on its own, but to have it happen on The Grandest Stage of Them All is heartbreaking.

    There's even a chance they were scheduled to win the titles so WrestleMania would kick off with a happy moment. Instead, it was anything but that.

    Here's hoping Boogs makes a speedy recovery and comes back even stronger than before.

Loser: Happy Corbin

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    As everyone expected, Happy Corbin came up short in his match against Drew McIntyre.

    This was easy to predict a month before WWE even announced this contest. It was clear where everyone was heading.

    What makes Corbin a major loser on this list, though, isn't just that he was pinned and everyone knew he was heading toward defeat. An even bigger loss for him was that The Scottish Warrior kicked out of The End of Days.

    Until this point, it was the most protected finisher on the roster. For years, any time he hit that move, it was the end of the match or there was a disqualification or something that would avoid someone kicking out.

    Corbin even told BT Sport he would rather nobody kick out of his finisher than to win the world championship.

    That dream is over. And he's no closer to winning the top belt, either.

Winner: The Miz and (to a Lesser Extent) Logan Paul

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    Love him or hate him, Logan Paul deserves credit for being able to pull off such a rock-solid performance in the ring. Many other celebrities have tried and failed, but he held his own.

    Of course, he wasn't the biggest winner of this match, as that was his partner, The Miz.

    Not only did The A-Lister score the pinfall for his team, but he also stole the big pop afterward when he nailed Paul with a Skull Crushing Finale.

    Why that happened is a mystery, but it meant The Miz is flying high as the top star of this segment. His promo on Monday's Raw will likely be insufferable, though.

Winner: Bianca Belair

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    WWE booked Becky Lynch to effectively humiliate Bianca Belair at SummerSlam as The Man turned heel.

    It worked, albeit at The EST of WWE's expense and with some struggles along the way, but one core idea remained over all these months: Belair needed to get a world title back.

    Thankfully, after several failed attempts to regain her championship, the title is back around the waist of Belair.

    Had she come up short or won by count-out or disqualification, it would have been the seventh out of nine times she had failed to beat Lynch.

    With The EST back as champion, having beaten two of the Four Horsewomen at WrestleMania, she's breaking through that glass ceiling to be one of the biggest names in the women's division for this era.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

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    Credit: WWE

    It is still unclear exactly what led to Cody Rhodes leaving the company he was instrumental in creating, but his departure from All Elite Wrestling meant the only other place for him to go be a huge deal would be WWE.

    Now that he's back in the fold, he's started this run with a bang and better than he was positioned six years ago with the company.

    This was one of the most reported stories heading into WrestleMania, despite how his arrival was kept quiet up until his actual ring entrance. To get that kind of special treatment is rare, and to have your return be at WrestleMania as Vince McMahon's personal choice to defeat a multi-time world champion in Seth Rollins is stacking positives on positives.

    Rhodes merely showing up would have been one of the biggest stories of the night. Getting the win makes him look like he'll be a major player going forward.

Winner: Charlotte Flair, Loser: Ronda Rousey

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    Ronda Rousey's track record against Charlotte Flair hasn't been the best. Their first match at Survivor Series 2018 ended in controversy with a disqualification.

    Their second go-around saw neither come out on top as Becky Lynch won both the Raw and SmackDown Women's Championships, and Rousey was the one who took the pin.

    You would think the third time would be the charm, but that wasn't the case. Instead, Flair managed to retain her SmackDown Women's Championship in one of the biggest shockers of the night.

    While WWE made sure to set it up so The Queen tapped while the referee was incapacitated. Flair didn't cheat to win this match, though. She just capitalized on a distraction to get the pin.

    Clearly, this feud isn't over. WWE might have booked this just to swerve the audience and stretch this into WrestleMania Backlash. But The Queen was left standing tall with a win in the record books over Rowdy, who will have to lick her wounds and join the list of Royal Rumble winners who disappointed at WrestleMania.

Losers: The New Day, Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch

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    The original plan for WrestleMania was for Sheamus, Ridge Holland and Butch to face all three members of The New Day. With Big E's injury, that got trimmed to a standard tag team match with Butch on the outside.

    Then, the match got cut entirely from the lineup.

    During the kickoff, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods spoke about how they would have the match, so it was still on the schedule earlier in the night. A segment must have ran too long and WWE opted to nix this to make up for it.

    What's frustrating is that there were two hours of the Kickoff show without a single match.

    This feud was already problematic heading into WrestleMania and the match would have been meaningless outside of getting these guys on the card, but they weren't even able to do that.

Winners: Kevin Owens and Stone Cold Steve Austin

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    For the first time, a promo segment was the main event of WrestleMania—or, at least, it was, until Kevin Owens challenged "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to a No Holds Barred match.

    Not one to turn down a fight, the Hall of Famer accepted. After being out of the ring for 19 years, The Texas Rattlesnake had his knee braces ready to go, and the crowd could not have been more pumped.

    The fact that this all happened already makes both men winners. For Austin to be healthy enough to get physical and for Owens to have the honor of wrestling one of his idols in the main event of WrestleMania is astonishing.

    Extra credit goes to Stone Cold for the actual victory, but Owens will still be beaming just for being involved. It will go down as one of the biggest wins of his career.


    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.