WWE WrestleMania 38 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights of Night 1

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2022

WWE WrestleMania 38 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights of Night 1

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Welcome to Bleacher Report's coverage and recap of the first night of WrestleMania 38.

    WWE has been calling this year's event "the most stupendous two-night WrestleMania in history," so it was putting a lot of pressure on itself to deliver a memorable show.

    Not only was Night 1 stacked with seven matches, but we also get a talk-show segment featuring Kevin Owens and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to close the pay-per-view.

    Saturday's half of 'Mania featured both women's title matches as well as the SmackDown Tag Team Championship bout and Seth Rollins taking on the least mysterious mystery opponent in the history of WWE.

    Let's take a look at what happened on Night 1 of WrestleMania 38. 

The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs (SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

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    Credit: WWE

    After the two-hour pre-show and the usual song and dance to get the main show started, Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs made their way out to battle The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in the first official match of WrestleMania 38. 

    The former intercontinental champion came out of the gate hot and stayed on Jey Uso with some stiff kicks. Once Jimmy and Jey got him cornered, though, they started controlling the pace with double-team attacks. 

    The Usos did their usual routine of keeping the babyface isolated until he was able to tag in his fresh opponent to clean house. But Boogs ended up hurting his knee when he tried to hold both brothers on his shoulders, so Nakamura was left to fend for himself. 

    After hitting a few moves, Jimmy and Jey finished The King of Strong Style off with The One D for the pin.

    This was a decent tag team match, but it did not feel like a WrestleMania-level encounter. This seemed like something we could have seen on SmackDown any week of the year.

    This feud might not be over, especially when you look at how light the tag team division is on the blue brand at the moment. 

    Grade: C+


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • WWE did an entire two-hour pre-show without putting on any matches. It could have just been an hour and covered the same ground. 
    • Michael Cole pointed out how this is the first time Samantha Irvine has been the ring announcer at WrestleMania. She will probably appreciate that when she hears it back. 
    • Nakamura and Boogs finally coordinated their gear to look like a real team. 
    • Boogs hit a nice delayed vertical suplex at one point, but he only held it for a few seconds. After seeing Bandido hold somebody for over a minute at Friday's ROH Supercard of Honor, it's hard to be as impressed with a few seconds. 

Happy Corbin vs. Drew McIntyre

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    Credit: WWE

    Madcap Moss accompanied Happy Corbin to the ring for his match against Drew McIntyre. These two men have faced each other well over a dozen times in different situations, so many fans went into this match hoping this would be the final chapter of their story. 

    The Scottish Warrior tried to get the upper hand right away with some big punches, but Corbin is a former Golden Gloves boxer and did not go down without a fight.

    They had a good pace going for a few minutes, but they slowed it way down once Corbin began to dominate the action. An accidental distraction from Madcap allowed McIntyre to hit a spinebuster and begin his comeback. 

    The Scot became the first person to kick out of The End of Days and then hit his patented Claymore Kick for the win. McIntyre threatened Madcap with his sword afterward and ended up cutting two of the ring ropes instead.

    While it had a couple of slow points, this was probably the best match Corbin and McIntyre have had during this feud. They had good physicality and helped each other look good.

    The fact that WWE protected Corbin's finisher for this long is a rarity in WWE and pro wrestling as a whole. 

    Grade: B-


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • After the previous match, the announcers talked about keeping us updated on Boogs. It appears he may have suffered a real injury to his leg. Let's hope he makes a speedy recovery if that is the case.
    • McIntyre should have had a bigger entrance for this match. WWE needs to start portraying him as a big star again if he is going to return to the hunt for a world title. 
    • Corbin always makes the Deep Six look good. He hits it dead center every single time. 
    • McIntyre hitting a big dive over the top rope onto Corbin and Madcap was a pleasant surprise. 
    • The Scot is officially the first person to kick out of The End of Days from Corbin. 

The Miz and Logan Paul vs. Dominik and Rey Mysterio

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    Credit: WWE

    Rey and Dominik Mysterio made their way out to a warm welcome as they prepared to take on The Miz and his influencer friend, Logan Paul. 

    After a little jaw-jacking, The Miz and Rey started for their teams. And Paul showed his heel side early by distracting Rey long enough for The A-Lister to get the upper hand. 

    Paul had a few moments in the ring with Rey before The Miz and Dom tagged in and started going at it. Once the heels had control again, they kept Dominik isolated by cutting the ring in half. After what McIntyre did, it feels necessary to point out that they did not actually cut the ring in half. 

    Paul hit Rey with Eddie Guerrero's signature Three Amigos suplexes, and the crowd booed more than you would have thought possible. Rey and Dom hit him with a double 619 followed by two frog splashes, but The Miz spoiled their ending by making a blind tag and hitting Rey with his finisher for the win. 

    As they were celebrating their huge win, The Miz hit Paul with the Skull Crushing Finale. The crowd popped and we may have just watched him turn babyface whether he wants to or not. 

    As annoying and controversial as Paul can be, there is no denying he put in the work to make sure he did not embarrass himself here. Not only did he hold his own, but he also had a few impressive moments. 

    This was a typical celebrity match, but Rey and The Miz being the veterans they are meant it had a little extra shine on it. Expectations for this were low before the event, so it's safe to say this bout exceeded them. 

    Grade: B+


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • WWE made sure to give the ring crew plenty of time to replace the ropes by playing a couple of video packages. 
    • The Mysterios both had awesome gear for this match. 
    • Paul was wearing the world's most expensive Pokemon card around his neck like a medal. 
    • At one point, Paul did the splits and showed off some surprising flexibility. 
    • Dominik hit a nice arm drag/headscissor combo to both The Miz and Paul. It was very reminiscent of a move his father has used many times. 

Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair (Raw Women's Championship)

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    Credit: WWE

    WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon came out to introduce Gable Steveson between matches. This was just a quick wave from the ramp before we got to the Raw women's title bout.

    The company gave both women special entrances for this rematch. Lynch had a Marvel-inspired video play before she came out while The EST of WWE was played to the ring by a marching band. 

    The bell rang but neither woman rushed to lock up. They took in the huge ovation from the crowd before Belair extended her hand as a sign of respect. Lynch slapped it away and hit the Manhandle Slam for a close two-count shortly afterward.

    After The EST escaped a repeat of her swift SummerSlam defeat, she had to kick out of several more attempted pins. She used Lynch's own submission against her but was unable to make her tap out. They took the fight out of the ring, and Big Time Becks sent her challenger into the steel steps. 

    After failing to get the win with a beautiful 450 splash, Belair took a Man-handle Slam onto the steps. They kept the fight as competitive as possible right up until the end when The EST hit the KOD for the win. The crowd erupted as she was handed the belt. 

    A lot of fans were expecting this to be similar to SummerSlam, but with Belair winning this time. Thankfully, that was not the case. WWE gave them big entrances and more than enough time to make sure this was a great match. 

    This wasn't a technical clinic or a high-flying showcase, even though this had a bit of both styles. This felt more like a fight with a lot of aggression. Both women were doing their best to put each other away instead of working together to put on a choreographed routine. They made it feel almost real.

    This was the first bout that felt truly worthy of being on the WrestleMania card. Everything about it was as close to perfect as you can get. 

    Grade: A+


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Lynch had her own special entrance that was kind of like the opening before every Marvel movie. 
    • Big Time Becks' new haircut looked great. She should be thanking Belair for cutting chunks of her hair off recently. 
    • The combatants' ring gear was on a different level. They both went all out this year. 
    • Everything from the video package to the special entrances to the brutality of the match made this a definite highlight of the weekend. 
    • Belair borrowed a move from Colt Cabana in this one.

Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

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    Credit: WWE

    After a video package recapped Seth Rollins' journey to WrestleMania, he came to the ring looking like the happiest man on the planet. He had an entire choir singing his entrance music on the stage. 

    After some pyro went off and the lights went down, Cody Rhodes' music hit and he made his way out to a huge pop from the fans. He looked elated to be back in front of the WWE Universe, but Rollins did not seem to share the crowd's feelings. 

    The American Nightmare controlled the first couple of minutes and showed off for the crowd a bit. The Visionary got in a few good shots before he and Rhodes started brawling. 

    The match was a fantastic display of what you would call "big-match wrestling." They played to the crowd, sold the big spots and made each other look like a million bucks. Rollins was a perfect choice to be Rhodes' first opponent back in WWE.

    The story here seemed to be that these two were equal in almost every way. They countered each other several times to show they knew each other's playbook. Even though this was Rhodes' big return, it was not a one-sided fight. Rollins made him work for his win. 

    After both men failed to put each other away with several of their biggest moves, Rhodes picked up the victory by hitting the Cross Rhodes twice followed by a series of jabs with a Bionic Elbow and a third Cross Rhodes to seal the deal. This was a fantastic way to make his return. 

    It's great to see The Grandson of a Plumber back in WWE, and it's going to be interesting to see what happens with him next. 

    Grade: A


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • WWE couldn't keep Rhodes' return a secret but chose not to mention it until he appeared. This is similar to what happened with CM Punk in All Elite Wrestling. Everybody knew he was coming but the company played dumb until his music hit. 
    • Rhodes doing a cartwheel was pretty funny. 
    • The spot when they tumbled over the top rope to the floor because they kept reversing a suplex looked nasty. 
    • Rollins was sent flying over the announce table when Rhodes hit a suicide dive. It looked great. 
    • Both men teasing a Pedigree was a fun moment, but the springboard cutter Rhodes hit a moment later was the best spot in the match. 

Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey (SmackDown Women's Championship)

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    Credit: WWE

    After a long break with several video packages and a Hall of Fame acknowledgment, Ronda Rousey made her way to the ring to challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women's Championship. 

    As soon as they locked up, it was clear this was going to be a physical exchange. They were not trying to make anything look smooth or pretty. This was about making it look like they were having a fight.

    The Queen focused a lot of her offense on Rousey's leg to set herself up for the Figure Eight. Rowdy Ronda used a more comprehensive approach with her offense and focused on dishing out as much damage as possible.

    They did a good job making this feel competitive, but it didn't quite reach the level WWE was probably hoping for. It's hard to say exactly what was missing, but it felt like there was something this match needed to push it over the edge. Maybe it went a little too long, or maybe it just fell short of the two bouts that preceded it. 

    This was one of the top three matches of the night, though. They worked their butts off to make sure this was not just another forgettable chapter in their long-running feud. When the dust settled, Flair scored the win with a big boot to retain her title. 

    Grade: B+


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Rousey looked more confident than she did in the women's Royal Rumble match and subsequent appearances. It seems like she found her groove again after taking more than a year away. 
    • The moment when Flair hit a Spear looked great because it appeared as if she came out of nowhere. They had the perfect camera angle for it. 
    • Rousey's upper chest was already showing welts from some of The Queen's chops. 

Kevin Owens vs. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin

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    WWE cut The New Day vs. Sheamus and Ridge Holland for time, so we went right from Rousey vs. Flair to The KO Show to close Night 1 of WrestleMania. 

    It took a long time to get to the actual segment because WWE played several video packages that recapped this entire storyline, which is kind of impressive because there wasn't much to the story. 

    As fans, we can say whatever we want about WWE making the decision to close night one with a talk-show segment. The fact of the matter is Owens just closed WrestleMania with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. There are thousands of wrestlers who would have killed to be in his position. 

    KO talked some trash before Stone Cold came out to a major ovation to give his response. He took his time getting to the ring by playing to the crowd several times. He seemed a little surprised that Owens actually wanted to have a conversation. 

    After some more insults, KO officially challenged the veteran to a No Holds Barred match. Surprisingly, Stone Cold accepted and called a ref down to make it official. The bell rang and they had a staredown in the middle of the ring before Austin started unloading on him in the corner. 

    They fought all around the arena, into the crowd and up to the stage. Both men took suplexes on hard surfaces and a couple of tables were broken along the way. After Austin kicked out of KO's Stunner and avoided a chair shot, The Rattlesnake hit his own Stunner for the win. 

    Was this a classic match that will be studied for years? Absolutely not. However, it was fun, entertaining and memorable. At the end of the day, that is what it takes to make a WrestleMania moment. KO got his on Saturday, even if he didn't come out on top. This segment overdelivered in the best possible way. 

    As a whole, Night 1 of WrestleMania ended up exceeding expectations. A couple of the results were genuinely shocking, we saw a few Match of the Year candidates and Austin worked his first match in almost two decades. Not too shabby. 

    Grade: A


    Notable Moments and Observations

    • WWE kept saying Austin hasn't hit anyone with a Stunner in many years during the buildup to this match, but he has hit several people with Stunners since he retired.
    • The pop Austin received was easily the biggest of the night. 
    • Stone Cold still has the fans in the palm of his hand. Nobody can control an audience quite like him.
    • It was kind of an odd choice to have Stone Cold sit silently for several minutes while KO spoke. 
    • Austin pretending his knee hurt too much to stomp a mudhole before revealing he was just fine was hilarious. 
    • Austin taking a suplex on a concrete floor in 2022 is just wild.