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411’s WWE WrestleMania 38 (Night One) Preview

April 2, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WrestleMania 38 KO Show Image Credit: WWE

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WrestleMania 38 Night One preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and the weekend is finally here. WWE has been building to its latest two-night extravaganza and as usual, they’ve actually built a little bit of intrigue for the Grandest Stage of Them All. We have a real up-and-down card for night one, with a few matches I’m going to have a hard time caring about and a few that really have the potential for something big. The good news is that even in lackluster matches, the WWE roster always turns it up for April and we can hope that happens on Saturday. We have a lot to get through for Night One, so without any further wasted words let’s get into it!

Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. The Miz and Logan Paul

Image Credit: WWE

First up on our list is our celebrity match of the night as Logan Paul partners with The Miz against The Mysterios. This feud has been built up mostly between Miz and the father-son duo, which saw Miz and Rey battle at Elimination Chamber where Dominik helped his dad get the win. That led to Miz bringing in Paul, who appeared but did not compete at last year’s WrestleMania, for some heel help against his rivals. And listen, we all know how these celebrity matches go. Yes, we had a shockingly good match with Bad Bunny last year when he and Damian Priest beat Miz and Morrison, but not everyone is a Bad Bunny. So, I can’t say that my expectations are super-high for this match, especially since I am not in any way, shape, or form a Logan Paul fan. But we can at least expect Rey to bump like a fiend here, so it has the potential to not be a complete time waster.

The big question here is which WrestleMania tendency will win out: will The Miz lose his tag match or will the celebrity emerge victorious. We all know WWE loves having those celebrity clips play on mainstream media, though Paul is a disliked-enough persona that a loss could get plenty of play too. That said, I’m still expecting Miz and Paul to come out victorious as they’ve been largely dominating this feud and Miz has a reality show to promote soon. And honestly, I’m pretty okay with that.

WINNER:The Miz & Logan Paul

Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin

Image Credit: WWE

We turn from the perfunctory celebrity match to the easiest match on the card to predict. I won’t deny that Happy Corbin has been far more entertaining than any of Corbin’s previous gimmick twists. It’s nice to see the guy get a chance to have some fun in there, and that’s something. But one of these two is going to have to be in main event contention soon and it’s not the one with the joke-dealing sidekick. Drew McIntyre has been a bit adrift for a while and being swamped into a feud with Corbin and Madcap Moss hasn’t done him any favors. That said, a win here will at least allow him to pick up the big capper for the feud. I like McIntyre but I’m not expecting miracles out of this match; it will be fine but completely forgettable, and if there is any justice it shouldn’t go too long. In the end, the Claymore Kick really needs to finish this feud once and for all so Drew can move on.

WINNER: Drew McIntyre

The KO Show
Kevin Owens hosts with guest Steve Austin

Image Credit: WWE

It’s not often that we have a segment worth covering in a preview column on a WWE PPV, but WrestleMania isn’t your average kind of show. And Steve Austin appearing on the show in a major way is the opposite of “average.” We haven’t had a scheduled appearance by the Rattlesnake at WrestleMania in quite some time and while it may not be the match, we’d been initially hearing about this should at the very least be very entertaining. There are a lot of guys who have been called “the new Stone Cold” over the years, and while it’s never really accurate or fair to the person dubbed such Owens likely comes as close as anyone to the description. Not in terms of capturing the zeitgeist and becoming a star of Austin’s level, but in terms of abilities and skillset. Add in the use of the Stunner and if anyone current was going to face off with Austin at a show, it had to be KO. One imagines that there will be no small amount of physicality between these two, but anyone expecting this to turn into a full match will probably end up disappointed. Instead, we’ll be getting a lot of promo time between the two to pop the crowd big-time and some mudhole stomping, some Stunning, and a “send the crowd home happy” moment. I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if this did set up an actual match for down the road, but even if we don’t, I will be happy if this is as good as it has every right to be.

STUNNED: Kevin Owens

The New Day vs. Sheamus and Ridge Holland

Image Credit: WWE

This match was originally supposed to be a six-man tag team match before Big E. suffered a broken neck at the hands of a suplex at ringside to Ridge Holland. There has been a lot said about that, so let’s just get to the match itself except to say that Holland probably should be the man accompanying Sheamus and Butch to ringside and not Butch accompanying Sheamus and Holland. Regardless, I do understand the story appeal here of Holland being in the match. Holland still needs a lot of work in the ring, but the other three competitors in this match are all great and can deliver on the big stage. The New Day don’t need the win here, especially if they wait until Big E. comes back to do the triumphant revenge bit, while giving this still-nascent heel faction a big win at the Grandest Stage of Them All will do them a lot of favors. That puts my money on Sheamus and Holland, likely through cheap (Butch) means.

WINNER: Sheamus & Ridge Holland

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs

Image Credit: WWE

Our first of three title matches for night one sees The Usos defend their Smackdown Tag Team Championships against a new team of challengers in Shinsuke Nakamura & Rick Boogs. Jimmy and Jey have dominated the Smackdown tag team division for the better part of a year, ruling as champions for 255 days to date as part of The Bloodline. That’s a long time for any title reign, but especially WWE tag team championships, and the natural inclination would seem to be that the Usos should lose the titles here. Not only would it freshen up the Blue Brand tag scene, but it would also put a crack in Roman Reigns’ armor to add some intrigue to Night Two’s main event (which we’ll get to tomorrow).

And yet… at the same time, Nakamura and Boogs don’t quite seem like the team to take the titles off of them. That’s not to say I haven’t been enjoying Nakamura and Boogs as a team; far from it. And I do think that they should have a tag title reign at some point without question. But here they feel way too much like challengers put up against the Usos just so there can be a tag team title match on Night One. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It just means that now is not the time for a babyface WrestleMania moment. The mat6ch should be a lot of fun and I can absolutely see this feud potentially extend to a later match where the challengers win the titles; I just don’t see it happening on Saturday.

WINNER: The Usos (STILL Smackdown Tag Team Champions)

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair

Image Credit: WWE

Bianca Belair’s path to her second WrestleMania has perhaps not been as inspiring as the first time, but it’s still been better than I worried. Belair’s on-and-off feud with Becky Lynch since SummerSlam has been an unusually canny bit of long-term booking by WWE, as they’ve not overexposed the rivalry despite how long its been going on. The storyline has been, at its core, a pretty basic one: Belair wants her revenge after Lynch surprised her to win the title at SummerSlam. Despite the ignominious way that “match” played out, Lynch and Belair have shown an ability to work well against each other that should play well into their match at the PPV. While Belair getting revenge on Lynch on Raw with the haircut would often suggest that Lynch will retain, I think this is a moment you have to pull the trigger on Belair again to give her the title. If they don’t, then you’re severely hurting Belair’s main event credibility. On the flip side, Lynch loses nothing by losing here. I could see WWE deciding that it isn’t Bianca’s time yet since she won last year, but I really, REALLY hope that isn’t the case.

WINNER: Bianca Belair (NEW Raw Women’s Champion)

Seth Rollins vs. TBA

Image Credit: WWE

Seth Rollins has a mystery opponent that will be determined by Mr. McMahon on Night One of WrestleMania 38, and that “mystery” might just be the worst-kept secret in wrestling for the past couple of years. Yes, let’s be clear; WWE could absolutely bring out someone other than Cody Rhodes to face Rollins on Saturday night. Maybe it’s Goldberg, maybe it’s Veer. Maybe it’s the Undertaker. With the exception of the latter, anyone less than Cody would be a massively deflating moment to the point that I can’t believe WWE would risk it. I haven’t been as sure of a mystery opponent in quite some time, and I’ll happily take egg on my face if I’m wrong, but I really don’t think I am.

Cody Rhodes’ future has been one of the most speculated bits of wrestling news of 2022 with ease, and there are indications that Rhodes’ WWE signing is recognized as a big thing within the company. I can’t believe that Rhodes would agree to come to WWE just to lose his first match at WrestleMania, and WWE bringing out Rhodes to lose would be almost as deflating as Goldberg coming out as winning. Seth has been angling for a comeuppance over the past month-plus, and Cody’s the man to give it to him. The qualify level of the match will be anyone’s guess depending on how Cody’s ring rust is, but I suspect it will be good to great and it will definitely be a talking point one way or another coming out of night one.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey

Image Credit: WWE

There seems to be some question whether this match or the KO Show will headline Night One of WrestleMania, and I can see value in both of them. Part of that is because both of them will likely send the crowd home with something big to talk about. Ronda Rousey may not be one of the most beloved WWE stars in the IWC, but there’s no denying that her return to the company has been huge for WWE. Rousey is one of their biggest-name stars in terms of mainstream value, and she also happens to be damned good in the ring. On the mic… well, she’s really good in the ring.

The point is, when Rousey came back at the Royal Rumble, the result of her eventual match was pretty much already set in stone by anyone’s estimation. Charlotte Flair is what she is as a champion: overhated by many and controversial, apparently even in the locker room. No matter how you slice that, she’s a reliable person for WWE to go to as a champion. Her title reign has been fine, but it’s time for her to hand it over. I expect a very good match here because no matter what we think of her as a person or character, she can go once the bell rings. In the end though, there is no way I see her walking out of WrestleMania with her title reign intact.

WINNER: Ronda Rousey (NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion)

And that’s all we have for night one of WrestleMania 38. This first night almost feels like the undercard in a lot of ways, despite some potentially huge moments for the weekend. That probably says something about how much the weekend’s hopes hang on Reigns vs. Lesnar, but regardless this should still be a pretty solid show. Thanks once again for reading and remember that we will have live coverage of the show courtesy our own Scott Slimmer right here on 411mania.com. Now, I have to go now, but before I do Cody Rhodes has a message that he wants to deliver Seth Rollins…

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Wrestlemania 38, Jeremy Thomas