Title: WrestleMania 38
Running Time: 503 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 3
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: May 30 2022
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
WrestleMania 38 Night 1 Under Card
The most STUPENDOUS two-night WrestleMania to date has a slightly underwhelming start. That’s because Rick Boogs’ injury overshadows his and Shinsuke Nakamura’s loss to The Usos. On a better note, Drew McIntyre vs. Happy Corbin serves its purpose, with McIntyre kicking out of End Of Days. Then, the show starts to take off properly. Logan Paul puts in a strong performance alongside The Miz against The Mysterios in a match worthy of Mania’s stage. It gets even better when Becky Lynch and Bianca Belair put on an epic encounter for the Raw Women’s Championship. Indeed, Bianca defeating Becky to end their long rivalry feels like one of the bigger moments of the weekend.
But a strong contender for THE biggest Mania moment of 2022 is up next. The rumours had swirled for weeks about who would face Seth Rollins, with one name coming up repeatedly. And WWE delivered upon expectations as Cody Rhodes made a shocking return to the company. This moment is classic WrestleMania stuff, and the match itself is also an absolute banger. All in all, this is flawless, and the whole segment almost warrants a DVD purchase on its own. Sensational stuff.
WrestleMania 38 Night 1 Main Events
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey is a very well-executed bout, albeit a clash in front of an exhausted crowd. Some will use this as a reason to criticise Rousey, but not every match can be a runaway success. And as noted, this is still very good, even if I was displeased at Charlotte pinning Ronda to retain her title.
The first night ends with something truly unimaginable only a few months earlier. That is, the in-ring return of Stone Cold Steve Austin after 19 years. NINETEEN YEARS! His brawl with Kevin Owens is a fun hark back to the good old days of Austin 3:16. I will admit that prior to the PPV, I didn’t want to see my hero potentially tarnish his legacy. But this goes so well that I’m now glad we got to see this icon do his thing once more. It’s still surreal to watch it back, but anyone who followed Austin during the Attitude Era should relish this.
WrestleMania 38 Night 2 Under Card
So, the first night of Mania 38 is fabulous, but how does the second night stack up? It starts with a Mania moment of a different kind as Triple H officially confirms his retirement. This happened due to H’s very serious health issues, so it’s both pleasing and sad to see this opening segment. The first actual match of the second night is a fun three-way tag bout featuring RKOs out of nowhere aplenty. Then, there’s Bobby Lashley vs. Omos, which is hardly super-exciting but still has significance as Lashley defeats his massive adversary.
Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. It’s full of wacky stunts and truly crazy moments, meaning that it’s a great addition to the stacked Mania card. The women’s four-way tag bout is okay but nothing more, as Sasha Banks and Naomi capture the gold. (Incidentally, I write this review less than a fortnight after the champs legitimately walked out of the company.) Meanwhile, Edge vs. AJ Styles is a strong outing, though probably not as good as most hoped it would be. Furthermore, Sheamus & Ridge Holland vs. The New Day flies by so quick that I forgot about it until rewatching the card.
WrestleMania 38 Night 2 Main Events
Not unlike Zayn vs. Knoxville, Pat McAfee vs. Austin Theory blows any expectations. I thought this was a pointless and bizarre addition beforehand, but the entire segment is a gem. Firstly, McAfee shows tremendous skills, while Theory proves he’s worthy of his on-screen association with Vince McMahon. Then, things turn truly strange as Vince himself – at age 76! – actually wrestles McAfee in a short bout. And then we get another Stone Cold Steve Austin appearance to deliver Stunners all-round. People will remember this mostly for Vince’s calamitous selling of a Stunner, but the entire presentation is thoroughly entertaining.
The final match is Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in a winner take all clash. Indeed, the victor gets both the WWE and Universal Championships. Though the match was headlining Mania for a third time, there was still a buzz heading into this card. That’s because Reigns would either finally score a career-defining victory over The Beast, or Lesnar would shock the world again. Ultimately, it was Roman’s night, and this result solidified him as the undisputed star of the company. Rumours of Roman suffering an injury in the home stretch are unfounded as Reigns didn’t miss a beat afterwards.
Hall Of Fame 2022
In the old days, WWE would get the entire Hall Of Fame ceremony on the DVD set, plus further extras. Nowadays, because Mania is a two-night affair, we’re fortunate to get any bonus content. But we do get one very significant extra here: The Undertaker’s long-awaited Hall Of Fame induction speech. It will no doubt go down as one of the most memorable HOF speeches in WWE history. Rather than merely telling road stories, Taker essentially delivers a Ted Talk as he recaps much of his illustrious career. And we get plenty of revelations and laughs, not to mention some tears, along the way.
I will focus on Taker’s final comments, where he says “never say never” about lacing up the boots one final time. Because of WWE’s current strategy of plucking almost anybody out of retirement (e.g. Austin and McMahon), I do see Taker wrestling again. I don’t think that he will do more than a one-off, but you can’t rule out Taker wrestling again. And besides, his “retirement match” was something that, in my opinion, could have waited for fans to return to arenas. So, I hope that we get one more Taker match (at Mania 39 or Mania 40, perhaps?). But even if we don’t, this Hall Of Fame speech is a must-watch.
WrestleMania 38 Summary
There are several classic matches, numerous unforgettable moments and historic title scenarios, all in a massive stadium setting. Plus, you get a HOF speech that fans had waited for dating back to the late 2000s. There are some slightly underwhelming elements, no doubt. But all in all, WrestleMania weekend for 2022 was a massive success. And it easily earns two thumbs up from me for anyone considering a DVD purchase. Though some may criticise WWE’s weekly output, the company still knows how to deliver a knockout PPV. And that’s what you will get from WrestleMania 38. You may say that it’s STUPENDOUS! Sorry.